Definition of wilderness noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈwɪldənəs//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈwɪldərnəs//
    [usually singular]
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  1. 1a large area of land that has never been developed or used for growing crops because it is difficult to live there The Antarctic is the world's last great wilderness. (North American English) a wilderness area (= one where it is not permitted to build houses or roads) (figurative) the barren wilderness of modern life
  2. 2a place that people do not take care of or control Their garden is a wilderness of grass and weeds. That part of the city is a wilderness of run-down houses and derelict factories.
  3. Word OriginOld English wildēornes ‘land inhabited only by wild animals’, from wild dēor ‘wild deer’ + -ness.Extra examples He depicted the frontier as a howling wilderness inhabited by uncivilized savages. His wilderness years in the 1990s were spent in North America. His wilderness years= when he was out of politics and the public eye in the 1990s were spent in Canada. The trail passes through a federally designated wilderness. They set out to explore the continent’s last great wilderness. They transformed the wilderness into a garden. We were hopelessly lost in the wilderness. officially designated wilderness areas and wildlife refuges the man who brought the party back from the political wilderness The Antarctic is the world’s last great wilderness. The US Department of Agriculture designated the land a wilderness area in 1978.Idioms no longer in an important position, especially in politics After three years in the wilderness she was given a government post.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: wilderness