See also: border-land

English edit

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Etymology edit

From border +‎ land.

Noun edit

borderland (plural borderlands)

  1. Land near a border; marches.
    Synonym: marchland
    Hypernym: land
    • 1644, David Hume, The History of the Houses of Douglas and Angus[1], Edinburgh: Evan Tyler, page 81:
      retaining Liddesdale and his other Borderlands and Offices in his owne person
    • 1850, Charlotte Brontë, letter dated 16 March, 1850, in The Life of Charlotte Brontë by Elizabeth Gaskell, London: Smith, Elder, 1857, Volume 2, Chapter , p. ,[2]
      some of the ancient East Lancashire families, whose mansions lie on the hilly border-land between the two counties
    • 1937, J. R. R. Tolkien, chapter 19, in The Hobbit[3], New York: Ballantine Books, published 1966, page 282:
      They came to the river that marked the very edge of the borderland of the Wild []
    • 2012, Hilary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies[4], New York: Henry Holt, Part 1, Chapter 2, p. 68:
      [] he pieces together his tale: arson, cattle raids, the usual borderlands story, ending in destitution, the making of orphans.
  2. (figuratively) An intermediate state, category, etc.
    Synonym: grey area
    • 1821 August, Charles Lamb, “Jews, Quakers, Scotchmen, and Other Imperfect Sympathies”, in The London Magazine, volume 4, page 153:
      Is he [the Scotchman] orthodox—he has no doubts. Is he an infidel—he has none either. Between the affirmative and the negative there is no border-land with him. You cannot hover with him upon the confines of truth, or wander in the maze of a probable argument.
    • 1911, W. E. B. Du Bois, chapter 25, in The Quest of the Silver Fleece[5], Chicago: McClurg, page 277:
      “Mr. Alwyn, the line between virtue and foolishness is dim and wavering, and I should hate to see you lost in that marshy borderland. []
    • 1937, Virginia Woolf, The Years[6], New York: Harcourt, Brace, page 21:
      But she did not look as if she were dying; she looked as if she might go on existing in this borderland between life and death for ever.
    • 1955, Rachel Carson, chapter 2, in The Edge of the Sea[7], Boston: Houghton Mifflin, page 36:
      the subject lies in the misty borderlands of advancing knowledge
    • 2019, Robert Harris, chapter 12, in The Second Sleep, London: Hutchinson:
      [] he found himself in that frustrating mental state in which one is too exhausted to think productively and yet too alert to sleep, and in this restless borderland he lay for the remainder of the night []

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