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barren (adj.)

c. 1200, "incapable of producing its kind" (of female animals, plants), from Old French baraigne, baraing "sterile, barren" (12c.), perhaps originally brahain, of obscure derivation, perhaps from a Germanic language. Use in reference to males is rare. Of land, "producing little or no vegetation," late 14c.

As a noun, mid-13c., "a barren woman;" later "tract of more or less unproductive land."

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

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Definitions of barren from WordNet
1
barren (adj.)
providing no shelter or sustenance;
barren lands
Synonyms: bare / bleak / desolate / stark
barren (adj.)
not bearing offspring;
a barren woman
barren (adj.)
completely wanting or lacking;
writing barren of insight
Synonyms: destitute / devoid / free / innocent
2
barren (n.)
an uninhabited wilderness that is worthless for cultivation;
the barrens of central Africa
Synonyms: waste / wasteland
From wordnet.princeton.edu