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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

bar-ba'-ri-an, bar'-ba-rus (barbaros): A word probably formed by imitation of the unintelligible sounds of foreign speech, and hence, in the mouth of a Greek it meant anything that was not Greek, language, people or customs. With the spread of Greek language and culture, it came to be used generally for all that was non-Greek. Philo and Josephus sometimes called their own nation "barbarians," and so did Roman writers up to the Augustan age, when they adopted Greek culture, and reckoned themselves with the Greeks as the only cultured people in the world. Therefore Greek and barbarian meant the whole human race (Romans 1:14).

In Colossians 3:11, "barbarian, Scythian" is not a classification or antithesis but a "climax" (Abbott) = "barbarians, even Scythians, the lowest type of barbarians." In Christ, all racial distinctions, even the most pronounced, disappear.

In 1 Corinthians 14:11 Paul uses the term in its more primitive sense of one speaking a foreign, and therefore, an unintelligible language: "If then I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be to him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh will be a barbarian unto me." The speaking with tongues would not be a means of communication. The excited inarticulate ejaculations of the Corinthian revivalists were worse than useless unless someone had the gift of articulating in intelligible language the force of feeling that produced them (dunamis tes phones, literally, "the power of the sound").

In Acts 28:2, 4 (in the King James Version of Acts 28:2 "barbarous people" = barbarians) the writer, perhaps from the Greek-Roman standpoint, calls the inhabitants of Melita barbarians, as being descendants of the old Phoenician settlers, or possibly in the more general sense of "strangers." For the later sense of "brutal," "cruel," "savage," see 2 Maccabees 2:21; 4:25; 15:02.

T. Rees

915. barbaros -- barbarous, barbarian
... barbarous, barbarian. Part of Speech: Adjective Transliteration: barbaros Phonetic
Spelling: (bar'-bar-os) Short Definition: a foreigner who speaks neither ...
// - 7k
Strong's Hebrew
3267. yaaz -- perhaps barbarous
... perhaps barbarous. Transliteration: yaaz Phonetic Spelling: (yaw-az') Short Definition:
fierce. ... root Definition perhaps barbarous NASB Word Usage fierce (1). ...
/hebrew/3267.htm - 5k

4031. Magog -- perhaps "land of Gog," a son of Japheth, also his ...
... and their land NASB Word Usage Magog (4). Magog. From Gowg; Magog, a son of Japheth;
also a barbarous northern region -- Magog. see HEBREW Gowg. 4030, 4031. ...
/hebrew/4031.htm - 6k


"You Knew the Too Barbarous And, Beyond Measure, Bloody Ferocity ...
... Dialogues of Sulpitius Severus. Chapter IV. "You knew the too barbarous
and, beyond measure, bloody ferocity of Avitianus´┐Ż "You ...
/.../severus/life and writings of sulpitius severus /chapter iv you knew the.htm

Ambassadors from Different Barbarous Nations Receive Presents from ...
... Book IV. Chapter VII."Ambassadors from Different Barbarous Nations receive
Presents from the Emperor. Indeed, ambassadors were ...
/.../the life of constantine/chapter vii ambassadors from different barbarous.htm

You Would not Think How These Barbarous Inventions Spoil Your ...
... THE THIRD CENTURY 13 You would not think how these barbarous inventions spoil
your knowledge. You would not think how these barbarous ...
/.../traherne/centuries of meditations/13 you would not think.htm

By this You May See who are the Rude and Barbarous Indians: for ...
... THE THIRD CENTURY 12 By this you may see who are the rude and barbarous Indians:
For verily there is no savage nation under the cope of Heaven. ...
/.../ of meditations/12 by this you may.htm

After what Manner Upon the Death of Claudius, Nero Succeeded in ...
... CHAPTER 8. After What Manner Upon The Death Of Claudius, Nero Succeeded
In The Government; As Also What Barbarous Things He Did. ...
/.../josephus/the antiquities of the jews/chapter 8 after what manner.htm

Preface. Reason for a New Work
... not account it hospitable from its situation, so is it severed from our more civilised
waters by a certain stigma which attaches to its barbarous character. ...
/.../tertullian/the five books against marcion/chapter i preface reason for a.htm

Our Forefathers have Handed Down to us the Tradition, That, after ...
... of flame had settled upon each of the Apostles, that they might speak diverse languages,
so that no race however foreign, no tongue however barbarous, might be ...
/.../2 our forefathers have handed.htm

Deified and Stoned
... This half-barbarous crowd had the ancient faith in the gods unweakened, and the
legends, which had become dim to pure Greek and Roman, some of which had ...
/.../maclaren/expositions of holy scripture the acts/deified and stoned.htm

Trials to be Met.
... What I shall say will apply particularly to barbarous and degraded nations, such
as the Sandwich Islanders once were; for it is to such nations that the ...
/.../dibble/thoughts on missions/chapter viii trials to be.htm

And Now the Time is Come for us to Consider the Works of Our ...
... which he bestowed, so that they composed and published writings of such authority
that they were translated into every civilized and barbarous language, [3585 ...
/.../pamphilius/the life of constantine/chapter xvii and now the.htm

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (a.) Being in the state of a barbarian; uncivilized; rude; peopled with barbarians; as, a barbarous people; a barbarous country.

2. (a.) Foreign; adapted to a barbaric taste.

3. (a.) Cruel; ferocious; inhuman; merciless.

4. (a.) Contrary to the pure idioms of a language.

Barbarous (1 Occurrence)
... 1. (a.) Being in the state of a barbarian; uncivilized; rude; peopled with barbarians;
as, a barbarous people; a barbarous country. ... BARBARIAN; BARBAROUS. ...
/b/barbarous.htm - 9k

Barbarian (2 Occurrences)
... 5. (a.) Of, or pertaining to, or resembling, barbarians; rude; uncivilized; barbarous;
as, barbarian governments or nations. Int. ... BARBARIAN; BARBAROUS. ...
/b/barbarian.htm - 10k

Savage (3 Occurrences)
... 1. (a.) Uncivilized; barbarous; untamed; of or pertaining to the forest; remote
from human abodes and cultivation; in a state of nature; wild; as, a savage ...
/s/savage.htm - 7k

... They cared little about building up new states or for extending their civilization
and molding barbarous tribes and imparting to them their culture. ...
/p/phoenicians.htm - 38k

Phoenicia (6 Occurrences)
... They cared little about building up new states or for extending their civilization
and molding barbarous tribes and imparting to them their culture. ...
/p/phoenicia.htm - 40k

... Noah Webster's Dictionary. (n.) A Roman emperor notorious for debauchery and barbarous
cruelty; hence, any profligate and cruel ruler or merciless tyrant. Int. ...
/n/nero.htm - 41k

Outlandish (1 Occurrence)
... 2. (a.) Hence: Not according with usage; strange; rude; barbarous; uncouth;
clownish; as, an outlandish dress, behavior, or speech. Int. ...
/o/outlandish.htm - 7k

... Noah Webster's Dictionary 1. (a.) Pertaining to the Goths; as, Gothic customs;
also, rude; barbarous. 2. (a.) of or pertaining to ...
/g/gothic.htm - 13k

Inhuman (1 Occurrence)
... Noah Webster's Dictionary 1. (a.) Cruel; barbarous; savage; unfeeling; destitute
of the kindness and tenderness that belong to a human being; ...
/i/inhuman.htm - 6k

Fell (331 Occurrences)
... 2. (v.) imp. of Fall. 3. (a.) Cruel; barbarous; inhuman; fierce; savage; ravenous.
4. (a.) Eager; earnest; intent. 5. (a.) Gall; anger; melancholy. ...
/f/fell.htm - 36k

Bible Concordance
Barbarous (1 Occurrence)

Acts 28:2 And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.



Related Terms

Barbarian (2 Occurrences)

Savage (3 Occurrences)


Phoenicia (6 Occurrences)


Outlandish (1 Occurrence)


Inhuman (1 Occurrence)

Fell (331 Occurrences)

Firstborn (119 Occurrences)

Firstling (8 Occurrences)

Tattoo (1 Occurrence)

Rude (2 Occurrences)

Eunuch (20 Occurrences)

Dalmatia (1 Occurrence)

Purity (16 Occurrences)

Philip (37 Occurrences)

Butcher (2 Occurrences)

Barbarians (3 Occurrences)

Barbed (1 Occurrence)

Cruelty (8 Occurrences)

Civil (4 Occurrences)

Captive (123 Occurrences)

A (102073 Occurrences)

Africa (1 Occurrence)

Scapegoat (3 Occurrences)

Shewed (105 Occurrences)

Inspiration (4 Occurrences)

Warfare (18 Occurrences)

Crimes (22 Occurrences)

Crime (45 Occurrences)


Tablets (31 Occurrences)


Punishments (31 Occurrences)

Thessalonica (8 Occurrences)

Tell (3056 Occurrences)

Music (143 Occurrences)

War (529 Occurrences)

Heathen (145 Occurrences)

Philistines (224 Occurrences)


Criticism (1 Occurrence)

Egypt (596 Occurrences)

Revelation (52 Occurrences)


John (154 Occurrences)

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