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A barbarian is an uncivilized person. The word is often used pejoratively, either in a general reference to a member of a nation or ethnos, typically a tribal society as seen by an urban civilization either viewed as inferior, or admired as a noble savage. In idiomatic or figurative usage, a "barbarian" may also be an individual reference to a brutal, cruel, warlike, insensitive person.[1]

The term originates in the ancient Greek civilization, meaning "anyone who is not Greek", and thus was often used to refer to other civilized people, such as the people of the Persian Empire. Comparable notions are found in non-European civilizations.


Origin of the term

The word "barbarian" comes into English from Medieval Latin barbarinus, from Latin barbaria, from Latin barbarus, from the ancient Greek word βάρβαρος (bárbaros). The word is onomatopoeic, the bar-bar representing the impression of random hubbub produced by hearing a spoken language that one cannot understand, similar to blah blah and babble in modern English.[citation needed] Related imitative forms are found in other Indo-European languages, such as Sanskrit बर्बर barbara-, "stammering" or "curly-haired". The earliest attested form of the word is the Mycenaean Greek pa-pa-ro, written in Linear B syllabic script.[2] Depending on its use, the term "barbarian" either described a foreign individual or tribe whose first language was not Greek or a Greek individual or tribe speaking Greek crudely.

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