- 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 barrens
There was no alternative now but to cross the barrens to Whale River on foot.The Long Labrador Trail
The ground we select is among the “barrens” before described.The Western World
T' this the lad was listenin' like a caribou o' the barrens scentin' peril.Harbor Tales Down North
There were only two settlements in The Barrens, and depots were to be erected there.
Just half way across The Barrens he has a house, which he calls ‘headquarters.’
- (sometimes singular) (in North America) a stretch of usually level land that is sparsely vegetated or barren
- 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 barrens
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.