wilderness

noun
wil·​der·​ness | \ ˈwil-dər-nəs \

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

In the great and terrible wilderness of history, countless millions have died badly, died foolishly, died without funerals or eulogies or gravestones. Laura Hudson, The Verge, "Why Return of the Obra Dinn is my game of the year," 21 Dec. 2018 Native Womens Wilderness is an organization whose mission is to inspire and raise the voices of Native Women in the outdoor realm and encourage a healthy lifestyle grounded in the wilderness. Maka Monture, Teen Vogue, "10 Native Activism Organizations to Show Your Support This Thanksgiving," 22 Nov. 2018 But in the Canadian wilderness, the fire isn’t catching yet. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: Kavanaugh’s paper trail makes his confirmation harder but ensures he’ll be reliably conservative," 10 July 2018 On the other side of the Atlantic, massive iron ore deposits remained untapped in the American wilderness. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 Other fires, including one that began burning in wilderness near Fairplay, were started by lightning. CBS News, "Colorado wildfire destroys more than 100 homes; "extreme caution" urged across West," 4 July 2018 While investigators believe it was started by a spark from a fire pit, other fires, like one that began burning in wilderness near Fairplay, were started by lightning. Time, "Colorado Wildfire Destroys Over 100 Homes in Community Started by Magazine Publisher Malcolm Forbes," 3 July 2018 Here and there sand dunes intruded, softly sensuous in a wilderness of rock. Stanley Stewart, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Off-Grid in Namibia," 21 Dec. 2018 That’s something that migrants ought to be able to do at ports of entry (official border crossings) without breaking US law or risking a wilderness crossing. Dara Lind, Vox, "The death of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin in Border Patrol custody isn’t an isolated outrage," 18 Dec. 2018

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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Last Updated

30 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for wilderness

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

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More Definitions for wilderness

wilderness

noun

English Language Learners Definition of wilderness

: a wild and natural area in which few people live

wilderness

noun
wil·​der·​ness | \ ˈwil-dər-nəs \

Kids Definition of wilderness

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

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