barren

adjective
bar·​ren | \ ˈber-ən How to pronounce barren (audio) , ˈba-rən \

Definition of barren

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not reproducing: such as
a : incapable of producing offspring used especially of females or matings barren women
b : not yet or not recently pregnant
c of plants : habitually failing to fruit barren apple trees
2 : not productive: such as
a : producing little or no vegetation : desolate barren deserts
b : producing inferior crops barren soil
c : unproductive of results or gain : fruitless a barren scheme
3 : devoid, lacking used with of barren of excitement
4 : lacking interest or charm a barren routine
5 : lacking inspiration or ideas a barren mind

barren

noun

Definition of barren (Entry 2 of 2)

1 barrens plural, geography : an extent of usually level land having an inferior growth of trees or little vegetation
2 : a tract of barren land

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Other Words from barren

Adjective

barrenly adverb
barrenness \ ˈber-​ə(n)-​nəs How to pronounce barren (audio) , ˈba-​rə(n)-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for barren

Adjective

bare, naked, nude, bald, barren mean deprived of naturally or conventionally appropriate covering. bare implies the removal of what is additional, superfluous, ornamental, or dispensable. an apartment with bare walls naked suggests absence of protective or ornamental covering but may imply a state of nature, of destitution, or of defenselessness. poor half-naked children nude applies especially to the unclothed human figure. a nude model posing for art students bald implies actual or seeming absence of natural covering and may suggest a conspicuous bareness. a bald mountain peak barren often suggests aridity or impoverishment or sterility. barren plains

Examples of barren in a Sentence

Adjective Few creatures can thrive on these barren mountaintops. The book was good, but I found the barren lives of the characters depressing. Noun lived out in the barrens where it was impossible to grow anything
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Corralling the ball halfway in the end zone, Cash took off like a bolt, escaping the touchback and making a slight turn toward a barren sideline. Evan Dudley, al, 10 Oct. 2021 Caterpillar earthmovers scooped up loose rocks and hauled them across a barren moonscape to the quarry’s labyrinthine network of crushing machines. Brian Chasnoff, San Antonio Express-News, 6 Oct. 2021 Lucid said the new plants are North America's first dedicated greenfield electric-vehicle factories, or those built and equipped on formerly barren land, farmland or other nonindustrial sites. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, 29 Sep. 2021 The result is a lush and biodiverse environment where there was once barren land. Nadia Leigh-hewitson, CNN, 2 Aug. 2021 Ben DuVal knelt in a barren field near the California-Oregon state line and scooped up a handful of parched soil as dust devils whirled around him and birds flitted between empty irrigation pipes. Gillian Flaccus, Star Tribune, 2 July 2021 There are more insects, amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds and mammals in these landscapes than in the barren green deserts of modern monoculture. Raj Patel, Scientific American, 22 Sep. 2021 The carbon capturing plant, perched on a barren lava plateau in southwest Iceland, is the biggest of its kind, its builder says, increasing global capacity for the technology by more than 40%. Michael Birnbaum, Anchorage Daily News, 10 Sep. 2021 Pundits say the two-thirds of our USA GDP is related to consumer spending, but what if our retail shelves were barren in Q4 and beyond? Rick Helfenbein, Forbes, 9 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barren.' 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 barren

Adjective

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1651, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for barren

Adjective

Middle English bareine, from Anglo-French barain, perhaps of Celtic origin; akin to Middle Welsh brynar fallow land

Noun

noun derivative of barren entry 1

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Time Traveler for barren

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near barren

Barremian

barren

barren brome grass

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Statistics for barren

Last Updated

13 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Barren.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/barren. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for barren

barren

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of barren

: having very few plants : not suitable for plants
: not producing fruit or not able to produce fruit
: not able to produce children or offspring : infertile

barren

adjective
bar·​ren | \ ˈber-ən How to pronounce barren (audio) \

Kids Definition of barren

1 : unable to produce seed, fruit, or young barren plants
2 : growing only poor or few plants barren soil

barren

adjective
bar·​ren | \ ˈbar-ən How to pronounce barren (audio) \

Medical Definition of barren

: incapable of producing offspring used especially of females or matings

Other Words from barren

barrenness \ -​ən-​nəs How to pronounce barren (audio) \ noun

More from Merriam-Webster on barren

Nglish: Translation of barren for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of barren for Arabic Speakers

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