wilderness

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English wildernesse, wyldernys, of uncertain formation. Perhaps from Middle English wildern (wilderness) +‎ -ness; or from unattested Old English *wilddēornes; or from Old English wilddēoren (wild, savage) + -nes (-ness).

Compare Middle Dutch wildernisse ("wilderness"; > modern Dutch wildernis), German Wildnis (wilderness). Compare also Old English wilder, wildor (wild beast).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

wilderness (countable and uncountable, plural wildernesses)

  1. An unsettled and uncultivated tract of land left in its natural state.

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