land that is uncultivated or barren.
an area that is devastated, as by flood, storm, or war.
something, as a period of history, phase of existence, or locality, that is spiritually or intellectually barren.

Origin of wasteland

First recorded in 1630–40; waste + -land
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for wasteland

swamp, desert, moor, marsh, badlands

Examples from the Web for wasteland

Contemporary Examples of wasteland

Historical Examples of wasteland

  • Help was not always available, and there could be no waste movements in a wasteland.

    Land of the Burnt Thigh

    Edith Eudora Kohl

  • Our world of Rajj is a wasteland where once we and our fellows lived.

    Brood of the Dark Moon

    Charles Willard Diffin

  • Hours later he spotted the caravan in the immensity of sand and wasteland.

  • Nothing, for as far as the eye could see there was only wasteland.

    Dave Dawson at Casablanca

    Robert Sydney Bowen

  • The Confederate force was already starting withdrawal, battery by battery, as the wasteland of the fire lighted them on their way.

    Ride Proud, Rebel!

    Andre Alice Norton

British Dictionary definitions for wasteland



a barren or desolate area of land, not or no longer used for cultivation or building
a region, period in history, etc, that is considered spiritually, intellectually, or aesthetically barren or desolateAmerican television is a cultural wasteland
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 wasteland

1887, from waste (adj.) + land (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper