no man's land


an area between opposing armies, over which no control has been established.
an unowned or unclaimed tract of usually barren land.
an indefinite or ambiguous area where guidelines and authority are not clear: a no man's land between acceptance and rejection.
(in tennis, handball, etc.) the area of a court in which a player is at a tactical disadvantage, as the area of a tennis court about midway between the net and the base line.

Origin of no man's land

Middle English word dating back to 1300–50 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for no-man's-land



land between boundaries, esp an unoccupied zone between opposing forces
an unowned or unclaimed piece of land
an ambiguous area of activity or thought
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 no-man's-land



also no man's land, "terrain between front lines of entrenched armies," 1908, popularized in World War I; in use from at least early 14c. as Nonemanneslond, an unowned waste ground outside the north wall of London, site for executions. No man (Old English nanne mon) was an old way of saying "nobody."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper