wilderness

noun
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

Colton has confessed his love, had two breakups, committed the jump heard ‘round the world, and been lost in the Portuguese wilderness! Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "These 'The Bachelor' Finale Memes Are Giving Me Life," 12 Mar. 2019 Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975 film, based on the 1967 novel by Joan Lindsay) Peter Weir directed this gorgeous cult classic about four girls who go missing in the Australian wilderness. Marley Marius, Vogue, "8 Stirring Tales of Sisterhood Adapted From the Page to the Silver Screen (That Aren’t Greta Gerwig’s Little Women)," 13 July 2018 In the 1920s Alaskan wilderness, a couple reeling from the loss of an unborn child struggles to rebuild their lives. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska performances of homegrown musical ‘Snow Child’ are canceled," 18 May 2018 For anyone who recently binge-watched Netflix’s Wild Wild Country, the plan to build a utopian community in the unspoiled wilderness based on the idiosyncratic beliefs of one man may sound … familiar. Anna Silman, The Cut, "Is Kanye Trying to Be the Next Bhagwan?," 1 May 2018 America’s story had always closely aligned with that of Exodus—the tale of a people who left behind an oppressive Old World to enter a wilderness and ultimately build a divinely inspired, promised land. John F. Ross, Smithsonian, "The Visionary John Wesley Powell Had a Plan for Developing the West, But Nobody Listened," 3 July 2018 Now, there's the perfect Airbnb to live out your desert fantasy without straying too far into the wilderness. Elizabeth Gulino, House Beautiful, "That Instagram-Famous Joshua Tree Home is Finally on Airbnb," 8 Mar. 2019 With the safest crossings clogged up, crossing through wilderness is the quickest way into US care. Dara Lind, Vox, "The death of 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin in Border Patrol custody isn’t an isolated outrage," 18 Dec. 2018 Ryan HiltonAuthentEscapesHe’s planned photography workshops in the bush, connected travelers with antipoaching teams, and coordinated a 10-day, 62-mile walking safari through raw wilderness. Paul Brady, Condé Nast Traveler, "2018 Top Travel Specialists We Trust," 19 Oct. 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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Statistics for wilderness

Last Updated

8 May 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

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 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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