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Inherited from Middle English wast lond, modification of earlier weste lond, from Old English weste land (wasteland); equivalent to waste +‎ land.



wasteland (plural wastelands)

  1. A place with no remaining resources; a desert.
    Ten years of drought had left the area a wasteland.
    • 2007, Kai Hansen, "To Mother Earth", Gamma Ray, Land of the Free II.
      Here create another wasteland / On and on 'til nothing's there / Here it comes, the devastation / Poisoning the air
  2. Any barren or uninteresting place.
    After his experiences, he no longer found western Kansas such a wasteland.
  3. A devastated, not (or no longer) habitable area.
    • 2014, Randall Munroe, quoting Anonymous, “Weird (and Worrying) Questions from the What If? Inbox, #7”, in What If?, New York, New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, →ISBN, page 157:
      How many nuclear missiles would have to be launched at the United States to turn it into a complete wasteland?
    • 2022 January 12, Benedict le Vay, “The heroes of Soham...”, in RAIL, number 948, page 43:
      Yet had the whole train and all its bombs gone, had the engine crew merely jumped from the train and run as simple self-preservation would have suggested, or unhitched just the engine to make their escape faster, the whole town would have gone and most of the people with it, leaving just a smoking wasteland. Hundreds would have died.