plural noun

a barren area in which soft rock strata are eroded into varied, fantastic forms.

Nearby words

  1. badger skunk,
  2. badger state,
  3. badigeon,
  4. badinage,
  5. badinerie,
  6. badlands national park,
  7. badly,
  8. badly off,
  9. badman,
  10. badmash

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

Examples from the Web for badlands

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