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a barren area in which soft rock strata are eroded into varied, fantastic forms.
Contemporary Examples

She received a life sentence for her part in a killing spree that inspired a Springsteen song and the movie badlands.
New Life Is Redemption for Caril Ann Fugate, Who Still Claims Innocence in Killings Michael Daly June 26, 2012

badlands is has got to be pushing 300 pounds and is one of the few really hyperadiposic entrants.
How to Stomach a Hot Dog Eating Contest Robert Silverman July 4, 2014

There has been reporting in Der Spiegel about a “German camp” in the badlands.
The Plan to Terrorize Europe Bruce Riedel November 15, 2010

The film was originally set to debut this summer, then moved to Dec. 22 and has now been pushed to the badlands of January.
The Nerds’ Last Hurrah Gina Piccalo June 1, 2010

Rank be damned, 45-year-old badlands still looks hungry to me, and manages to gobble 12 plates in all, with grace.
Video: We Took a Competitive Eater to TGI Fridays for Endless Appetizers—and They Ran Out Brandy Zadrozny July 16, 2014

Historical Examples

The bobcat, although not abundant, is generally distributed throughout Harding County, particularly in the buttes and badlands.
Mammals of Northwestern South Dakota Kenneth W. Andersen

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

plural noun
any deeply eroded barren area

“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).


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    a national park in SW South Dakota: rock formations and animal fossils. 380 sq. mi. (985 sq. km).

  • Badly

    in a defective, incorrect, or undesirable way: The car runs badly. in an unsatisfactory, inadequate, or unskilled manner: a vague, badly written letter; He paints badly. unfavorably: His neighbors spoke badly of him. The weather turned out badly for the cruise. in a wicked, evil, or morally or legally wrong way. in a disobedient, naughty, […]

  • Badly behaved

    adjective pertaining to habitually inappropriate or undesirable behavior Examples Every time she drinks alcohol, she is badly behaved. Word Origin 1843 Historical Examples If he were an ordinary man instead of a nobleman, they would call him badly behaved. A Hungarian Nabob Maurus Jkai Angèle is a little vixen, a badly behaved, spoilt child, I […]

  • Badly off

    not good in any manner or degree. having a wicked or evil character; morally reprehensible: There is no such thing as a bad boy. of poor or inferior quality; defective; deficient: a bad diamond; a bad spark plug. inadequate or below standard; not satisfactory for use: bad heating; Living conditions in some areas are very […]

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