1. Primitive or undeveloped in culture and customs; uncivilized.
2. Lacking refinement or culture; coarse: inappropriate, barbarous behavior.
3. Characterized by savagery; very cruel: a barbarous punishment; a barbarous tyrant.
4. Marked by the use or occurrence of barbarisms in spoken or written language.
[From Latin barbarus, from Greek barbaros, non-Greek, foreign; see BARBARISM.]
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.