Figure Name barbarism
Source Silva Rhetoricae (; Hill (1883); Waddy (1889); Kellog (1880) ("barbarism")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms barbarismus
Etymology None
Type Chroma
Linguistic Domain Lexicographic

1. The use of nonstandard or foreign speech (see cacozelia); the use of a word awkwardly forced into a poem's meter; or unconventional pronunciation. Like solecisms, barbarisms are possible according to each of the four categories of change. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. 3. The Barbarism.
Opposed to familiarity is the barbarism. A word may be a barbarism because of its relation to time or to place.
(1) Barbarisms from Time. - The first class includes words not familiar to the 'generation' to which the writers belongs. These are (1) 'obsolete' words, or such as were once in good use, but have ceased to be living constituents of the language; and (2) 'newly coined' words, or such as have not received the sanction of time. (Hill)

2. (2). Barbarisms from Place.- The barbarism embraces also words which are not familiar in 'all places' where the language is written. These are (1) 'foreign' words, which the semi-educated are always introducing into their writings and conversations, as a proof of their learning; (2) 'provincialisms,' often unconsciously used by those who suppose their local terms to be generally known to those who speak the same language; and (3) 'technical' terms belonging to special arts and sciences. (Hill)

3. A violation of purity is called a Barbarism. (Waddy)

4. A barbarism is an expression which violates the rule that in language good use is reputable, national, and present. (Kellog, 96)


1. To you he appeals that knew him ab extrema pueritia, whose placet he accounts the plaudite of his pains, thinking his day-labor was not altogther lavish'd sine linea if there be anything of all in it that doth olere Atticum in your estimate. —Thomas Nash, Preface to Greene's Menaphon (Silva Rhetoricae)

1. Pronouncing "bourgeoisie" as "bur-goy'-zee". (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Pope has formulated the rhetorical law on this subject in this well-known stanza:
"In words as fashions the same rule will hold,
Alike fantastic if too new or old:
Be not the first by whom the new are tried,
Nor yet the last to lay the old aside." (Hill)

Kind Of
Part Of
Related Figures cacozelia, graecismus, hebraism, solecism
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Ioanna Malton
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes "Opposition might be the wrong category for this and other figures--more like "dissimilarity," perhaps, since it deviates from what is wanted, but is not in opposition to it.
Reviewed No