wilderness

play
noun wil·der·ness \ ˈwil-dər-nəs \

Definition of wilderness

1 a (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
3 a :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

Examples of wilderness in a Sentence

  1. She enjoys hikes through the wilderness.

  2. released the wolf back into the wilderness

Recent Examples of wilderness from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of wilderness

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

Other Wood Production Terms


WILDERNESS Defined for English Language Learners

wilderness

play
noun

Definition of wilderness for English Language Learners

  • : a wild and natural area in which few people live


WILDERNESS Defined for Kids

wilderness

play
noun wil·der·ness \ ˈwil-dər-nəs \

Definition of wilderness for Students

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


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up wilderness? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

a ram's-horn trumpet used in Judaism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!