- not producing or incapable of producing offspring; sterile: a barren woman.
- unproductive; unfruitful: barren land.
- without capacity to interest or attract: a barren period in American architecture.
- mentally unproductive; dull; stupid.
- not producing results; fruitless: a barren effort.
- destitute; bereft; lacking (usually followed by of): barren of tender feelings.
- Usually barrens. level or slightly rolling land, usually with a sandy soil and few trees, and relatively infertile.
Origin of barren
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for barren
First, though, he has to be shocked into recognizing the barren waste of his spiritual life – by spirits.How Dickens and Scrooge Saved Christmas
December 22, 2014
Without it in the atmosphere, the Earth would be a barren, frozen wasteland.Extreme Weather? Blame the End Times
November 28, 2014
Ibrahim Hijazi walked me through his barren house, emptied ahead of the demolition.In Jerusalem Home Demolitions, the Biblical Justice of Revenge
November 25, 2014
Shibirghan, the capital of Jowzjan province, is a remote and barren place, even by Afghan standards.The Warlord Who Defines Afghanistan: An Excerpt From Bruce Riedel’s ’What We Won’
July 27, 2014
In an ugly, barren press conference, they demanded a new election.McDaniel Supporters Allege Fundraising Violations by NRSC
July 12, 2014
They are barren, till the imagination has tenanted them with possibilities of danger and dismay.Malbone
Thomas Wentworth Higginson
How long should its followers lurk in the barren lands of the North?The Story of the Malakand Field Force
Sir Winston S. Churchill
But she did not allow herself to fall into the idleness of barren speculation.The Secret Agent
And both were so happy, so all in all to each other, as they left that barren threshold!Night and Morning, Complete
Once the earth was but a ball of dead, cold rock and barren sand.Classic Myths
Mary Catherine Judd
- incapable of producing offspring, seed, or fruit; sterilea barren tree
- unable to support the growth of crops, etc; unproductive; barebarren land
- lacking in stimulation or ideas; dulla rather barren play
- not producing worthwhile results; unprofitablea barren period in a writer's life
- (foll by of) totally lacking (in); devoid (of)his speech was barren of wit
- (of rock strata) having no fossils
Word Origin and History for barren
c.1200, from Old French baraigne, baraing "sterile, barren" (12c.), perhaps originally brahain, of obscure derivation, perhaps from a Germanic language. In England, originally used of women, of land in France. Of land in English from late 14c. As a noun, mid-13c., "a barren woman;" later of land.
BARRENS. Elevated lands, or plains upon which grow small trees, but never timber. [Bartlett, "Dictionary of Americanisms," 1848]
- Not producing offspring.
- Incapable of producing offspring.