- 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 barrenness
The barrenness of the Causses arises, as will be seen, from natural causes.The Roof of France
Nature seemed to try to conceal the barrenness of the spot with beauty.
Directly ahead was a land of desolation, radiant in its barrenness.Two Thousand Miles Below
Charles Willard Diffin
We are struck with the aspect of barrenness caused by the absence of vegetation.Aztec Land
Maturin M. Ballou
You will love it through all its barrenness, and never part with it.Luttrell Of Arran
Charles James Lever
- 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 barrenness
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.