Definition of wilderness in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈwɪldənɪs/


[usually in singular]
1An uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region.
Example sentences
  • Ahead is a barren land of lochans and beautifully-ridged mountains rising steeply from an uninhabited wilderness.
  • Incredibly, 250 years ago the Lake District was seen as an ugly and inhospitable wilderness.
  • I saw sequoias as tall and straight as skyscrapers, celestial waterfalls and a wilderness stretching to unseen horizons.
wilds, wastes, uninhabited region, inhospitable region, uncultivated region, badlands;
South African  bundu
1.1A neglected or abandoned area: the garden had become a wilderness of weeds and bushes
More example sentences
  • Ponies play a crucial role in the area's ecology by eating vast amounts of vegetation and preventing the landscape turning into a wilderness.
  • To the right is a wilderness, abandoned to brambles, ground elder, bindweed and buddleia.
  • A lot of farmers went out of business, some of the more marginal farming areas reverted to wilderness.
wasteland, neglected area, abandoned area, no-man's-land
1.2A position of disfavour, especially in a political context: the man who led the Labour Party out of the wilderness [as modifier]: his wilderness years
More example sentences
  • In this capacity he was given charge only of the Royal Navy, a position that, after ten years in the political wilderness, he was content to accept.
  • And, if we don't send that message, I fear that we will be in the political wilderness for a long time.
  • Churchill spent most of the 1930s in the political wilderness opposing the disastrous appeasement of Hitler.


a voice in the wilderness

An unheeded advocate of reform (see Matt. 3:3 etc.).
Example sentences
  • ‘We can achieve things with that approach but we need one united voice otherwise we are a voice in the wilderness,’ Mr Daly added.
  • Wesbury is chief economist at GKST, and has been a voice in the wilderness for the past couple of years, pointing out the undercurrent of strength in the domestic U.S. Economy.
  • Time will tell whether Spurlock's capable of arriving at conclusions rather than telegraphing them in advance, but for now, he's a voice in the wilderness.


Old English wildēornes 'land inhabited only by wild animals', from wild dēor 'wild deer' + -ness.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: wil¦der|ness

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