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[bad-landz] /ˈbædˌlændz/
plural noun
a barren area in which soft rock strata are eroded into varied, fantastic forms.
Origin of badlands
1850-55, Americanism; bad1 + land + -s3; translation of French mauvaises terres, perhaps based on expressions in AmerInd languages, alluding to the difficulty in traversing such country Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for badlands
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The bobcat, although not abundant, is generally distributed throughout Harding County, particularly in the buttes and badlands.

  • But on the far rim of that section of badlands shone the green of a Warlockian sea rippling on to the only dimly seen horizon.

    Storm Over Warlock Andre Norton
  • As the highway descends into the badlands, it twists through ravines and valleys.

    North Dakota Various
  • Barathrum was closer to the scene of the worst outlaw depredations than the badlands, not more than an hour at Mach Two.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
  • All the raids along the east coast; everybody's blamed them on the badlands gangs.

    The Cosmic Computer Henry Beam Piper
British Dictionary definitions for badlands


plural noun
any deeply eroded barren area
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
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Word Origin and History for badlands

"arid, highly eroded regions of the western U.S.," 1852, from bad + land (n.). Applied to urban districts of crime and vice since 1892 (originally with reference to Chicago).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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