Barbarian, Barbarous - Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words

Barbarian, Barbarous

[ 1,,G915, barbaros ]
properly meant one whose speech is rude, or harsh;" the word is onomatopoeic, indicating in the sound the uncouth character represented by the repeated syllable "bar-bar." Hence it signified one who speaks a strange or foreign language. See 1 Corinthians 14:11. It then came to denote any foreigner ignorant of the Greek language and culture. After the Persian war it acquired the sense of rudeness and brutality. In Acts 28:2, Acts 28:4, it is used unreproachfully of the inhabitants of Malta, who were of Phoenician origin. So in Romans 1:14, where it stands in distinction from Greeks, and in implied contrast to both Greeks and Jews. Cp. the contrasts in Colossians 3:11, where all such distinctions are shown to be null and void in Christ. "Berber" stood similarly in the language of the Egyptians for all non-Egyptian peoples.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words