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[bad-landz] /ˈbædˌlændz/
plural noun
a barren area in which soft rock strata are eroded into varied, fantastic forms.
Origin of badlands
1850-55, Americanism; bad1 + land + -s3; translation of French mauvaises terres, perhaps based on expressions in AmerInd languages, alluding to the difficulty in traversing such country Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for badlands
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Why, it's in the badlands, over between the Blaubergs and the east coast.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • A State of unbounded plains and hills and badlands—elbowroom.

    North Dakota Various
  • The fighting of this day is known as the Battle of the badlands.

    North Dakota Various
  • The badlands are probably the best known recreation area of the State.

    North Dakota Various
  • But on the far rim of that section of badlands shone the green of a Warlockian sea rippling on to the only dimly seen horizon.

    Storm Over Warlock Andre Norton
British Dictionary definitions for badlands


plural noun
any deeply eroded barren area
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for badlands

"arid, highly eroded regions of the western U.S.," 1852, from bad + land (n.). Applied to urban districts of crime and vice since 1892 (originally with reference to Chicago).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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