barren

[bar-uhn]
adjective
1.
not producing or incapable of producing offspring; sterile: a barren woman.
2.
unproductive; unfruitful: barren land.
3.
without capacity to interest or attract: a barren period in American architecture.
4.
mentally unproductive; dull; stupid.
5.
not producing results; fruitless: a barren effort.
6.
destitute; bereft; lacking (usually followed by of ): barren of tender feelings.
noun
7.
Usually, barrens. level or slightly rolling land, usually with a sandy soil and few trees, and relatively infertile.

Origin:
1200–50; Middle English bareyn(e), barayn(e) < Anglo-French barai(gn)e, Old French brahaigne (French bréhaigne (of animals) sterile), akin to Spanish breña scrubby, uncultivated ground, Upper Italian barena land along a lagoon covered by high water; apparently < Celtic, compare Welsh braenar, Irish branar fallow land, but derivational details unclear

barrenly, adverb
barrenness, noun
unbarren, adjective
unbarrenly, adverb
unbarrenness, noun

barren, baron, baronet.


1. childless, unprolific, infertile. 2. infertile, depleted, waste. See bare1. 5. ineffectual, ineffective.


1–6. fertile.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
barren (ˈbærən)
 
adj
1.  incapable of producing offspring, seed, or fruit; sterile: a barren tree
2.  unable to support the growth of crops, etc; unproductive; bare: barren land
3.  lacking in stimulation or ideas; dull: a rather barren play
4.  not producing worthwhile results; unprofitable: a barren period in a writer's life
5.  (foll by of) totally lacking (in); devoid (of): his speech was barren of wit
6.  (of rock strata) having no fossils
 
[C13: from Old French brahain, of uncertain origin]
 
'barrenly
 
adv
 
'barrenness
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

barren
c.1300, 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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

barren bar·ren (bār'ən)
adj.

  1. Not producing offspring.

  2. Incapable of producing offspring.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Barren definition


For a woman to be barren was accounted a severe punishment among the Jews (Gen. 16:2; 30:1-23; 1 Sam. 1:6, 27; Isa. 47:9; 49:21; Luke 1:25). Instances of barrenness are noticed (Gen. 11:30; 25:21; 29:31; Judg. 13:2, 3; Luke 1:7, 36).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
Some coal-mines advantageously situated, cannot be wrought on account of their barrenness.
All life was absent, both from them and from the fantastic barrenness of the bowlder-strewn land at their bases.
Meanwhile, physics is stuck in a paradigm doomed to barrenness.
What comes through in the critics' lives is a poignant barrenness.
Synonyms
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