never-never land


nev·​er-nev·​er land ˌne-vər-ˈne-vər- How to pronounce never-never land (audio)
: an ideal or imaginary place

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The phrase never-never land is linked to Peter Pan, although it did not originate with that creation of the Scottish playwright Sir James Matthew Barrie. In Barrie's original 1904 play, Peter befriends the real-world children of the Darling family and spirits them off for a visit to Never Land, where children can fly and never have to become adults. Then, in his 1908 sequel When Wendy Grew Up, Barrie changed the name to Never Never Land, and subsequent versions of the earlier play incorporated that change. People had been using never-never land for a place that was overly idealistic or romantic since at least 1900, but the influence of Peter Pan on the word's popularity and staying power cannot be discounted.

Examples of never-never land in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Yet the extravagance that helped define E3’s never-never land feeling remained at full-tilt. Megan Farokhmanesh, WIRED, 12 Dec. 2023 Over the course of his career, Buffett earned their love by transforming himself into a kind of musical shaman who offered transport from the banalities of everyday life to the bounty of a never-never land of eternal sun, endless sandy beaches and bottomless boat drinks: Margaritaville. Drew M. Dalton, Fortune, 10 Sep. 2023 Pavelski was curling in from the left wing, outpaced his check, only to get clobbered to never-never land by Dumba. Kevin Paul Dupont,, 22 Apr. 2023 For a disease that has languished in a kind of political never-never land for at least one human generation, leaving millions profoundly disabled, that is significant progress. Hillary Johnson, Discover Magazine, 20 July 2013 Last month, this prompted Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post's editorial page editor, to write that, On climate change, the GOP is lost in never-never land. Keith Kloor, Discover Magazine, 12 May 2011 Every chapter straddles the psychological never-never land between myth and science. Robert M. Thorson, WSJ, 4 Mar. 2022 Ownership of both is a must for the haves and a never-never land for the have-nots. Scott Burns, Dallas News, 9 Oct. 2020 Of course, this abject failure is nothing new in the never-never land of presidential debates. Washington Post, 24 Sep. 2020

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'never-never land.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1900, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of never-never land was in 1900


Dictionary Entries Near never-never land

Cite this Entry

“Never-never land.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

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