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

Examples of wilderness in a Sentence

She enjoys hikes through the wilderness. released the wolf back into the wilderness
Recent Examples on the Web While Cesspooch explained, a deer approached through the aspens, watched the humans for a bit, then loped back into the wilderness. Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune, 5 Aug. 2022 Similarly, Jeremiah recalls God’s expression of love for Israel, who, despite all odds, followed Him into the wilderness. Rabbi Avi Weiss, Sun Sentinel, 25 July 2022 Instead of forcing our feelings of inadequacy into exile — like the goat sent into the wilderness — those who scapegoat can embrace this awareness and grow from it. Katherine Kam, Washington Post, 19 July 2022 But this intrusion of traffic into the wilderness has led to high numbers of wildlife-vehicle collisions. Nell Lewis, CNN, 4 July 2022 Will Staats loaded up on a couple of small packs of peanuts and a few other snacks at a gas station to fuel him for the day’s nine mile trek into the wilderness in search of moose sheds. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 1 June 2022 If your family isn't hugely into the wilderness, camp in your backyard, or even in your living room. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 26 May 2022 But snowmobilers who venture deep into the wilderness will still prefer gasoline, Mr. Boisjoli said. New York Times, 15 May 2022 Thankfully, a deputy on site was able to open the hatchback up again, allowing the javelina to jump out and run back into the wilderness. Kimi Robinson, USA TODAY, 12 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for wilderness

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near wilderness

Wildermuth's auricle


wilderness area

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Statistics for wilderness

Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Wilderness.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wilderness. Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for wilderness


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

More from Merriam-Webster on wilderness

Nglish: Translation of wilderness for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wilderness for Arabic Speakers


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