Barrenness



not producing or incapable of producing offspring; sterile:
a barren woman.
unproductive; unfruitful:
barren land.
without capacity to interest or attract:
a barren period in American architecture.
mentally unproductive; dull; stupid.
not producing results; fruitless:
a barren effort.
destitute; bereft; lacking (usually followed by of):
barren of tender feelings.
Usually, barrens. level or slightly rolling land, usually with a sandy soil and few trees, and relatively infertile.
Historical Examples

What was it that produced this barrenness, this intellectual degradation in Constantinople?
The Hand of Providence J. H. Ward

Directly ahead was a land of desolation, radiant in its barrenness.
Two Thousand Miles Below Charles Willard Diffin

To the uninitiated a clod of dry earth is the most unpromising of objects—it is cousin to the stone, and the type of barrenness.
Chapters in Rural Progress Kenyon L. Butterfield

We are struck with the aspect of barrenness caused by the absence of vegetation.
Aztec Land Maturin M. Ballou

Savage wildness and barrenness reign in its lofty mountain chains as much as softer beauty does in the “huertas” and “vegas.”
Spain Wentworth Webster

Then upon the earth did there come dearth and drought and barrenness.
A Book of Myths Jean Lang

The past may well look with pity at the poverty of our civilisation; the future will laugh at the barrenness of our art.
The Book of Tea Kakuzo Okakura

Whatever may be our experience of failure and barrenness, He is never defeated.
The Calvary Road Roy Hession

Every day the atmosphere of a house becomes unbearable, so every day I go out to the sand and barrenness.
The Story of Mary MacLane Mary MacLane

My love of good is damned to barrenness; it may, and let it be!
Stories By English Authors: Germany Various

adjective
incapable of producing offspring, seed, or fruit; sterile: a barren tree
unable to support the growth of crops, etc; unproductive; bare: barren land
lacking in stimulation or ideas; dull: a rather barren play
not producing worthwhile results; unprofitable: a barren period in a writer’s life
(foll by of) totally lacking (in); devoid (of): his speech was barren of wit
(of rock strata) having no fossils
n.

late 14c., literal; mid-14c., figurative (of spiritual emptiness), from barren + -ness.
adj.

c.1200, from Old French 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 a noun, mid-13c., “a barren woman;” later of land.

BARRENS. Elevated lands, or plains upon which grow small trees, but never timber. [Bartlett, “Dictionary of Americanisms,” 1848]

barren bar·ren (bār’ən)
adj.

Not producing offspring.

Incapable of producing offspring.

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).

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