wil·​der·​ness | \ ˈwil-dər-nəs How to pronounce wilderness (audio) \

Definition of wilderness

1a(1) : a tract or region uncultivated and uninhabited by human beings
(2) : an area essentially undisturbed by human activity together with its naturally developed life community
b : an empty or pathless area or region in remote wildernesses of space groups of nebulae are found— G. W. Gray †1960
c : a part of a garden devoted to wild growth
2 obsolete : wild or uncultivated state
3a : a confusing multitude or mass : an indefinitely great number or quantity I would not have given it for a wilderness of monkeys— William Shakespeare
b : a bewildering situation those moral wildernesses of civilized life— Norman Mailer

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Examples of wilderness in a Sentence

She enjoys hikes through the wilderness. released the wolf back into the wilderness

Recent Examples on the Web

Stewart is gone now, having grown out his beard and gone off into the wilderness to feed on locusts and wild honey. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "A Herd Has No Mind," 11 July 2019 The tide has turned against her; only her true fans follow her into the wilderness. Maria Puente, USA TODAY, "Taylor Swift's outrage over Scooter Braun: Will it change the music industry?," 3 July 2019 But their beef has been settled by Dany’s death, and Sansa is now tasked with running the vast region known in the books for lots of untamed wilderness and exporting hides, wool, and timber. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Anarchist Arya Stark: This Game of Thrones Meme Breaks Down Characters by Political Organizing Tactics," 21 May 2019 There are jaw-dropping installations downtown, interactive performance art for kids, and super mellow pop-up concerts along the wilderness trails on the hamlet’s outskirts. Ray Mark Rinaldi, The Know, "The six best Colorado art festivals you’re not going to," 28 June 2019 The show won’t have any trouble selling out, because this ensemble knows what audiences want: song parodies, cheesy costumes, beautiful wilderness photos, frequent jabs at Alaskan weirdness and, of course, that snotty political humor. Donna Freedman, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Whale Fat Follies’ launches final run with a hint of wistfulness and signature raucous humor," 28 June 2019 Non-surfing guests enjoy yoga classes, cultural tours and wilderness trips to volcanoes and waterfalls. Matthew King, WSJ, "A Luxury Surf Vacation Where You’d Least Expect," 28 June 2019 Home to some of the world’s most important remaining wilderness, the presence of landmines in Angola continue to make the African country unsafe for local and animal inhabitants. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's Connection to Africa — from Their Third Date to Tour with Archie," 27 June 2019 After centuries of coexistence with humans, wolves have become an embattled icon of humanity’s complicated relationship to wilderness and wild things. Gregory Thomas, SFChronicle.com, "Can ‘wolf therapy’ open people up? One shaman aims to find out.," 26 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wilderness.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of wilderness

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

History and Etymology for wilderness

Middle English, from wildern wild, from Old English wilddēoren of wild beasts

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Statistics for wilderness

Last Updated

17 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wilderness

The first known use of wilderness was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for wilderness



English Language Learners Definition of wilderness

: a wild and natural area in which few people live


wil·​der·​ness | \ ˈwil-dər-nəs How to pronounce wilderness (audio) \

Kids Definition of wilderness

: an area in its natural state in which few or no people live

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Comments on wilderness

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