a. The condition of having no civilizing influences or refined culture; ignorance or crudity: "the struggles made by different nations, as they emerge from barbarism, to supply themselves with some visible symbol of thought" (William Hickling Prescott).
b. Savage violence or cruelty: "To say that the barbarism of one side [in World War I] impelled the barbarism of the other is not much of an excuse" (David A. Bell).
a. The use of words, forms, or expressions considered incorrect or unacceptable.
b. A specific word, form, or expression so used.
[Latin barbarismus, use of a foreign tongue or of one's own tongue amiss, barbarism, from Greek barbarismos, from barbarizein, to behave or speak like a barbarian, from barbaros, non-Greek, foreign (imitative of the sound of unintelligible speech).]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.