A wooded area with no civilized life on the borders of a town is an example of the wilderness.
- an uncultivated, uninhabited region; waste; wild
- any barren, empty, or open area, as of ocean
- a large, confused mass or tangle
- Obs. a wild condition or quality
Origin of wildernessMiddle English wildernesse from wilderne, wild place ( from Old English wilddeor, wild animal from wilde, wild + deor, animal, deer) + -nesse, -ness
- An unsettled, uncultivated region, especially:a. A large tract of land that has not been significantly affected by human activities.b. A tract of land officially protected from development and other high-impact human activities.c. A barren or desolate area; a wasteland.
- Something characterized by bewildering vastness, perilousness, or unchecked profusion: a wilderness of unknown city streets; a wilderness of voices.
- A state of neglect, powerlessness, or disfavor: “The failure of the Clinton health plan in 1994 opened the door to the Republicans' capture of Congress after forty years in the wilderness” ( Jacob S. Hacker )
Origin of wildernessMiddle English from Old English wilddēornes probably from wilddēor wild beast wilde wild dēor wild animal
Either from unattested Old English *wilddÄ“ornes (cognate with Dutch wildernis, German Wildnis), or from Old English wilddÄ“oren (“wild, savage") + -nes (“-ness").