If you don’t mow your lawn all summer, don’t be surprised if your neighbors complain that it resembles a wilderness, a wild area that is not tended by humans.

The wilderness is of course filled with many animals, but did you know that the name of an animal is hidden in the word wilderness? The word actually is a combination of wild plus the Old English word dēor, along with the ending -ness, used in nouns that refer to a certain condition. While dēor eventually turned into our modern word deer, it didn’t refer to the antlered Bambi we imagine. It was simply the word for “animal.”

Definitions of wilderness
  1. noun
    a wild and uninhabited area left in its natural condition
    “it was a wilderness preserved for the hawks and mountaineers”
    synonyms: wild
    see moresee less
    the remote outback of Australia; unpopulated desert country
    show 5 types...
    hide 5 types...
    barren, waste, wasteland
    an uninhabited wilderness that is worthless for cultivation
    a large wilderness area
    a wilderness at the edge of a settled area of a country
    heath, heathland
    a tract of level wasteland; uncultivated land with sandy soil and scrubby vegetation
    the bush country of the interior of Australia
    type of:
    geographic area, geographic region, geographical area, geographical region
    a demarcated area of the Earth
  2. noun
    a bewildering profusion
    “the duties of citizenship are lost sight of in the wilderness of interests of individuals and groups”
    “a wilderness of masts in the harbor”
    see moresee less
    type of:
    cornucopia, profuseness, profusion, richness
    the property of being extremely abundant
  3. noun
    (politics) a state of disfavor
    “he led the Democratic party back from the wilderness
    see moresee less
    type of:
    disfavor, disfavour
    the state of being out of favor
Word Family
F1 image

Express yourself in 25 languages

  • Learn immersively - no memorization required
  • Build skills for real-world conversations
  • Get immediate feedback on your pronunciation
Get started for $7.99/month