|1. Etymologically. A foreigner, one whose language and customs differ from the speaker's.|
1549 Compl. Scot. xiii. 106, 'Euere nation reputis vthers nations to be barbariens, quhen there tua natours and complexions ar contrar til vtheris [i.e. each other]'. 1611 BIBLE I Cor. xiv. 11, 'I shall be unto him that speaketh, a Barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a Barbarian unto me'. 1827 HARE Guesses (1859) 325, 'A barbarian is a person who does not talk as we talk, or dress as we dress, or eat as we eat; in short, who is so audacious as not to follow our practice in all the trivialities of manners'. 1862 Macm. Mag. Nov. 58, 'Ovid…laments that in his exile at Tomi he, the polished citizen, is a barbarian to all his neighbours'.
|2. Historically. (a) One not a Greek. (b) One living outside the pale of the Roman empire and its civilization, applied especially to the northern nations that overthrew them. (c) One outside the pale of Christian civilization. (d) With the Italians of the Renaissance: one of a nation outside Italy.|
1604 SHAKS. Oth. I. iii. 363, 'A fraile vow, betwixt an erring Barbarian and a super-subtle Venetian'. 1607 Cor. III. i. 238, 'I would they were Barbarians…not Romans'. 1628 HOBBES Thucyd. 9, 'The Athenians…expecting the coming of the Barbarian'. 1660 STANLEY Hist. Philos. (1701) 307/2, 'Of Men some are Grecians, some Barbarians'. 1846 ARNOLD Hist. Rome II. xi. 364, 'The inhabitants of the left or eastern bank of the Rhone were…no longer to be considered barbarians, but were become Romans both in their customs and in their language'. 1863 MAYOR in Ascham's Scholem. 242 'Christoph. Longueil of Malines, the one “barbarian” to whom the Italians allowed the title of “Ciceronian”'.
|3. A rude, wild, uncivilized person.|
|(a) Sometimes distinguished from savage (perhaps with a glance at 2).|
|(b) Applied by the Chinese contemptuously to foreigners.|