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  1. #1
    hhtt21 is offline Key Member
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    barren -not yet or not recently pregnant

    Barren: not yet or not recently pregnant.

    Would somebody give an example of barren fitting with the above definition?

    My try: 1. She is not barren now.
    2. She is not barren yet.
    3. She has become barren a few months ago.

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/barren

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Skrej is offline Key Member
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    Re: barren -not yet or not recently pregnant

    I was surprised to see definition 1B. In terms of definition 1, I've never heard 'barren' used to mean 'not pregnant', just 'unable to get pregnant'.

    Perhaps others will disagree, but I don't think I'd recommend trying to use definition 1B as it's most likely to be mistaken for 1A. It has a negative connotation in all the other definitions, whereas 1B seems rather neutral. There's nothing negative about not being pregnant unless of course you're actually trying to conceive.
    Wear short sleeves! Support your right to bare arms!

  3. #3
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: barren -not yet or not recently pregnant

    I wouldn't use barren in American English to describe a woman.
    I am not a teacher.

  4. #4
    hhtt21 is offline Key Member
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    Re: barren -not yet or not recently pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by GoesStation View Post
    I wouldn't use barren in American English to describe a woman.
    What would you use for these kind of cases?

    Thank you.

  5. #5
    emsr2d2's Avatar
    emsr2d2 is offline Moderator
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    Re: barren -not yet or not recently pregnant

    I can't imagine needing a word to describe a woman who is not pregnant. She's simply not pregnant! The same goes for someone who has not recently been pregnant!

    Like Skrej, I find this definition very unusual. For me "barren" means "infertile" (when applied to a woman, not to a man).
    Remember - if you don't use correct capitalisation, punctuation and spacing, anything you write will be incorrect.

  6. #6
    Skrej's Avatar
    Skrej is offline Key Member
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    Re: barren -not yet or not recently pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by hhtt21 View Post
    What would you use for these kind of cases?
    It's technically okay, but it sounds a very dated or old fashioned. Nowadays you're more likely to hear 'infertile' or something like 'unable to conceive' or 'can't get pregnant'.

    I mostly hear 'barren' nowadays in the context of definition 2. Even then it's not extremely common.

    If my Ngram seach is done correctly, it seems that the use of 'barren' (in any context) has steadily declined over the last 200 years.
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  7. #7
    GoesStation is offline Moderator
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    Re: barren -not yet or not recently pregnant

    Quote Originally Posted by hhtt21 View Post
    What would you use for these kind of cases?
    A woman who cannot conceive is infertile. A woman who isn't pregnant is not pregnant.
    I am not a teacher.

  8. #8
    bubbha is offline Senior Member
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    Re: barren -not yet or not recently pregnant

    In my experience, "barren", when used to describe a woman, is an old-fashioned term for "infertile"; it doesn't mean "not pregnant". People don't tend to use the term these days, as it's considered insulting, as if the woman is defective.

    "barren" also means "empty" and/or "devoid of vegetation", like a barren landscape.
    NOT A TEACHER. Translator and editor, and I hold a TESOL certificate. Native speaker of American English (West Coast)

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