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as in desert
land that is uninhabited or not fit for crops lived out in the barrens where it was impossible to grow anything

Synonyms & Similar Words

Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective barren differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of barren are bald, bare, naked, and nude. While all these words mean "deprived of naturally or conventionally appropriate covering," barren often suggests aridity or impoverishment or sterility.

barren plains

When can bald be used instead of barren?

The synonyms bald and barren are sometimes interchangeable, but bald implies actual or seeming absence of natural covering and may suggest a conspicuous bareness.

a bald mountain peak

When might bare be a better fit than barren?

The words bare and barren are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, bare implies the removal of what is additional, superfluous, ornamental, or dispensable.

an apartment with bare walls

When could naked be used to replace barren?

While in some cases nearly identical to barren, naked suggests absence of protective or ornamental covering but may imply a state of nature, of destitution, or of defenselessness.

poor half-naked children

Where would nude be a reasonable alternative to barren?

The words nude and barren can be used in similar contexts, but nude applies especially to the unclothed human figure.

a nude model posing for art students

Thesaurus Entries Near barren

Cite this Entry

“Barren.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on barren

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