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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for badlands

barren, wasteland, waste, desert, barrens

Examples from the Web for badlands

Contemporary Examples of badlands

Historical Examples of badlands

  • 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.

  • The fighting of this day is known as the Battle of the Badlands.

  • The Badlands are probably the best known recreation area of the State.

  • 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


pl n

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

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