Drive through a forest that's just been destroyed by a fire, and you'll get an idea of what barren means — stripped of vegetation and devoid of life.

Not to be confused with a baron, a kind of nobleman, barren is often used to describe an area of land that lacks any signs of life. A barren wilderness is dry and empty, with no foliage or twittering birds to be found. An old-fashioned and unflattering word for a woman who is unable to have children is barren.

Definitions of barren
  1. adjective
    completely wanting or lacking
    “writing barren of insight”
    synonyms: destitute, devoid, free, innocent
    not having existence or being or actuality
  2. adjective
    providing no shelter or sustenance
    barren lands”
    synonyms: bare, bleak, desolate, stark
    unfavorable to life or growth
  3. noun
    an uninhabited wilderness that is worthless for cultivation
    “the barrens of central Africa”
    synonyms: waste, wasteland
    see moresee less
    heath, heathland
    a tract of level wasteland; uncultivated land with sandy soil and scrubby vegetation
    type of:
    wild, wilderness
    a wild and uninhabited area left in its natural condition
  4. adjective
    not bearing offspring
    “a barren woman”
    infertile, sterile, unfertile
    incapable of reproducing
Word Family

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