[S]urely there is cruelty and gross selfishness in cutting down for our own fleeting gratification that which would have ministered to the enjoyments of all for weeks or months. Frankly do I confess that I dislike a wanton floricide. He has robbed the world of a pleasure; he has blotted out a word from God's earth-written poetry. [New Monthly Magazine, April 1847]
c. 1600, of or pertaining to Dionysos (Latin Dionysus), Greek god of wine and revelry, identified with Roman Bacchus. His name is of unknown origin. In some cases a reference to historical men named Dionysius, such as the two tyrants of that name of Syracuse, both notorious for cruelty, or Dionysius Exiguus, 6th c. Scythian monk who invented the Anno Domini era (see A.D.). The reference is to him in Dionysian period, a measure of 532 Julian years, at the end of which the full moons recur on the same days of the year.
late 14c., rigour, "harshness, severity in dealing with persons; force; cruelty," from Old French rigor "strength, hardness" (13c., Modern French rigueur), from Latin rigorem (nominative rigor) "numbness, stiffness, hardness, firmness; roughness, rudeness," from rigēre "be stiff" (from PIE root *reig- "stretch; be stretched; be stiff").
Also, in medieval medicine, "a sudden chill" (c. 1400). From early 15c. as "exactness, strictness without indulgence" (of discipline, the law, etc.). Compare rigidity. Rigorism "rigidity in principles or practice" (originally religious) is from 1704. Rigidist is by 1716.
early 15c., "of or belonging to animals, non-human," from Old French brut "coarse, brutal, raw, crude," from Latin brutus "heavy, dull, stupid, insensible, unreasonable" (source also of Spanish and Italian bruto), said to be an Oscan word, from PIE *gwruto-, suffixed form of root *gwere- (1) "heavy." Before reaching English the meaning expanded to "of the lower animals." Used in English of human beings from 1530s, "wanting in reason, blunt or dull of sentiment, unintelligent." The sense in brute force (1736) is "irrational, purely material."
Brute ... remains nearest to the distinguishing difference between man and beast, irrationality .... Brutish is especially uncultured, stupid, groveling .... Brutal implies cruelty or lack of feeling: as brutal language or conduct. [Century Dictionary]
As a class of crime in common law, also from c. 1300, from Anglo-French. The exact definition changed over time and place, and even the distinction from misdemeanor or trespass is not always observed. In old use often a crime involving forfeiture of lands, goods, or a fee or a crime punishable by death. Variously used in the U.S.; often the sense is "crime punishable by death or imprisonment in a state penitentiary."
early 14c., monstre, "malformed animal or human, creature afflicted with a birth defect," from Old French monstre, mostre "monster, monstrosity" (12c.), and directly from Latin monstrum "divine omen (especially one indicating misfortune), portent, sign; abnormal shape; monster, monstrosity," figuratively "repulsive character, object of dread, awful deed, abomination," a derivative of monere "to remind, bring to (one's) recollection, tell (of); admonish, advise, warn, instruct, teach," from PIE *moneie- "to make think of, remind," suffixed (causative) form of root *men- (1) "to think."
Abnormal or prodigious animals were regarded as signs or omens of impending evil. Extended by late 14c. to fabulous animals composed of parts of creatures (centaur, griffin, etc.). Meaning "animal of vast size" is from 1520s; sense of "person of inhuman cruelty or wickedness, person regarded with horror because of moral deformity" is from 1550s. As an adjective, "of extraordinary size," from 1837. In Old English, the monster Grendel was an aglæca, a word related to aglæc "calamity, terror, distress, oppression." Monster movie "movie featuring a monster as a leading element," is by 1958 (monster film is from 1941).
1566, "an outlaw," specifically "one of a class of Irish robbers noted for outrages and savage cruelty," from Irish toruighe "plunderer," originally "pursuer, searcher," from Old Irish toirighim "I pursue," from toir "pursuit," from Celtic *to-wo-ret- "a running up to," from PIE root *ret- "to run, roll" (see rotary).
About 1646, it emerged as a derogatory term for Irish Catholics dispossessed of their land (some of whom subsequently turned to outlawry); c. 1680 applied by Exclusioners to supporters of the Catholic Duke of York (later James II) in his succession to the throne of England. After 1689, Tory was the name of a British political party at first composed of Yorkist Tories of 1680. Superseded c. 1830 by Conservative, though it continues to be used colloquially. As an adjective from 1680s. In American history, Tory was the name given after 1769 to colonists who remained loyal to the crown; it represents their relative position in the pre-revolutionary English political order in the colonies.
A Tory has been properly defined to be a traitor in thought, but not in deed. The only description, by which the laws have endeavoured to come at them, was that of non-jurors, or persons refusing to take the oath of fidelity to the state. [Jefferson, "Notes on the State of Virginia"]
early 15c., in reference to classical history, "a non-Roman or non-Greek," earlier barbar (late 14c.) "non-Roman or non-Greek person; non-Christian; person speaking a language different from one's own," from Medieval Latin barbarinus (source of Old French barbarin "Berber, pagan, Saracen, barbarian"), from Latin barbarus "strange, foreign, barbarous," from Greek barbaros "foreign, strange; ignorant," from PIE root *barbar- echoic of unintelligible speech of foreigners (compare Sanskrit barbara- "stammering," also "non-Aryan," Latin balbus "stammering," Czech blblati "to stammer").
Greek barbaroi (plural noun) meant "all that are not Greek," but especially the Medes and Persians; originally it was not entirely pejorative, but its sense became moreso after the Persian wars. The Romans (technically themselves barbaroi) took up the word and applied it to tribes or nations which had no Greek or Roman accomplishments.
Also in Middle English (c. 1400) "native of the Barbary coast;" meaning "rude, wild person" is from 1610s. Occasionally in 19c. English distinguished from savage (n.) as being a step closer to civilization. Sometimes, in reference to Renaissance Italy, "a non-Italian." It also was used to translate the usual Chinese word of contempt for foreigners.
Barbarian applies to whatever pertains to the life of an uncivilized people, without special reference to its moral aspects. Barbarous properly expresses the bad side of barbarian life and character, especially its inhumanity or cruelty: as, a barbarous act. Barbaric expresses the characteristic love of barbarians for adornment, magnificence, noise, etc., but it is not commonly applied to persons: it implies the lack of cultivated taste .... [Century Dictionary, 1889]