Llamas walking across a barren landscape.
- An example of a barren tree is a tree that makes no fruit.
- An example of barren is a desert where few things grow.
- that cannot produce offspring; sterile: a barren woman
- not bearing or pregnant at the regular time: said of animals or plants
- not producing crops or fruit; having little or no vegetation: barren soil
- not bringing useful results; unproductive; unprofitable: a barren plan
- lacking appeal, interest, or meaning; dull; boring
- empty; devoid: barren of creative spirit
Origin of barrenMiddle English barain from Old French baraigne, brehaigne, origin, originally used of land
- an area of unproductive land
- [usually pl.] land with poor soil and very few shrubs, trees, etc.
- a. Not producing or incapable of producing offspring. Used of female animals.b. Often Offensive Not producing or incapable of producing offspring. Used of women.
- Not producing or incapable of producing fruit: barren trees.
- Lacking vegetation, especially useful vegetation: barren tundra.
- Unproductive of results or gains; unprofitable: “That icy winter silence—how it froze you from your bride, / Tho' I made one barren effort to break it at the last!” ( Alfred Lord Tennyson ) See Synonyms at futile.
- Devoid of something specified: writing barren of insight.
- Lacking in liveliness or interest: a barren routine.
Origin of barrenMiddle English barreine from Old French brahaigne perhaps of Germanic origin
(comparative barrener or more barren, superlative barrenest or most barren)
- (not comparable) unable to bear children; sterile
- I silently wept as my daughter's husband rejected her. What would she do now that she was no longer a maiden but also barren?
- of poor fertility, infertile; not producing vegetation
- Unproductive; fruitless; unprofitable; empty.
- Mentally dull; stupid.
- Set on some quantity of barren spectators to laugh too. Shakespeare. Hamlet. III.ii. ca. 1602
- An area of low fertility and habitation, a desolate place.
- The pine barrens are a site lonely enough to suit any hermit.
From Old French baraigne (“sterile, barren”).