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

Visit Joshua Tree National Park Explore the desert's vast wilderness at Joshua Tree National Park, a spot that earned its moniker from its unique and photogenic inhabitant, the Joshua Tree. Charlotte Chilton, Town & Country, "What to Do on Your Next Trip to Palm Springs," 5 Mar. 2019 Remember them in case you're ever marooned in an icy wilderness. Kevin Dupzyk, Popular Mechanics, "8 Essential Tips from 'Arctic,' the Best Survival Movie in Years," 1 Feb. 2019 Idaho has about 540,000 acres of wilderness study areas tracked by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Keith Ridler, The Seattle Times, "Legislation aims to reduce wilderness study areas in Idaho," 19 Feb. 2019 The Duchess of Cambridge’s woodland wilderness garden at #RHSChelsea aims to get people back to nature, and highlight the benefits of the natural world on our mental and physical wellbeing. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kate Middleton Personally Helped Design the Impressive RHS Back to Nature Garden," 10 Feb. 2019 Pure Cycles Gravel Adventure Pro Bike This upgraded version of the Gravel Adventure Bike adds in 18 wilderness-ready speeds for true off-roaders. Popular Mechanics, "Get Ready to Ride This Spring with These Affordable Bikes," 23 Jan. 2019 Set in a wilderness corridor between Bokor and Kirirom national parks, spectacular Shinta Mani Wild has 15 platform tents perched over a rushing river (the creation of uber–resort designer Bill Bensley). Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, "The Best Places to Travel in 2019," 7 Dec. 2018 There are some wilderness resources that are non-negotiable, like water. Colleen Stinchcombe, SELF, "How to Choose a Trip for Your First Backpacking Experience," 11 Nov. 2018 As a Boy Scout turned Marine, my dad takes wilderness planning to the next level. Beth Woolsey, Woman's Day, "'My Father and I Approach the World Differently, But an Emergency Brought Us Together'," 4 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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Last Updated

13 Mar 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 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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a shady place in a garden or forest

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