I. adjective Etymology: Middle English bareine, from Anglo-French barain, perhaps of Celtic origin; akin to Middle Welsh brynar fallow land Date: 13th century 1. not reproducing: as a. incapable of producing offspring — used especially of females or matings b. not yet or not recently pregnant c. habitually failing to fruit 2. not productive: as a. producing little or no vegetation ; desolate <
barren deserts
b. producing inferior crops <
barren soil
c. unproductive of results or gain ; fruitless <
a barren scheme
3. devoid, lacking — used with of <
barren of excitement
4. lacking interest or charm <
a barren routine
5. lacking inspiration or ideas <
a barren mind
Synonyms: see barebarrenly adverbbarrenness noun II. noun Date: 1651 1. plural an extent of usually level land having an inferior growth of trees or little vegetation 2. a tract of barren land

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.


Look at other dictionaries:

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  • barren — [bar′ən, ber′ən] adj. [ME barain < OFr baraigne, brehaigne, orig. used of land] 1. that cannot produce offspring; sterile [a barren woman] 2. not bearing or pregnant at the regular time: said of animals or plants 3. not producing crops or… …   English World dictionary

  • barren — I adjective arid, bare, childless, desolate, disused, empty, fallow, fruitless, functionless, idle, impotent, inactive, inane, infecund, infertile, insufficient, issueless, nonfertile, nonproducing, nonproductive, profitless, scarce, shallow,… …   Law dictionary

  • barren — (adj.) c.1200, from O.Fr. baraigne, baraing sterile, barren (12c.), perhaps originally brahain, of obscure derivation, perhaps from a Germanic language. In England, originally used of women, of land in France. Of land in English from late 14c. As …   Etymology dictionary

  • Barren — Bar ren, n. 1. A tract of barren land. [1913 Webster] 2. pl. Elevated lands or plains on which grow small trees, but not timber; as, pine barrens; oak barrens. They are not necessarily sterile, and are often fertile. [Amer.] J. Pickering. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • barren — [adj1] unable to support growth arid, depleted, desert, desolate, dry, effete, empty, fallow, fruitless, impotent, impoverished, infecund, infertile, parched, sterile, unbearing, uncultivable, unfertile, unfruitful, unproductive, waste; concepts… …   New thesaurus

  • barren — ► ADJECTIVE 1) (of land) too poor to produce vegetation. 2) (of a female animal) unable to bear young. 3) bleak and lifeless. 4) (barren of) without. DERIVATIVES barrenness noun. ORIGIN …   English terms dictionary

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  • barren — 1 *sterile, unfruitful, infertile, impotent Antonyms: fecund Contrasted words: *fertile, prolific, fruitful 2 bald, *bare, naked, nude Analogous words: arid, *dry: desolate, forlorn (see …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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