No man’s land

No man’s land is a surprisingly old term, dating back to the 1300s. We will examine the definition of the term no man’s land, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

No man’s land may refer to the stretch of land that lies between the front lines of two opposing armies, an area which is clearly not under the control of either side. No man’s land may also refer to a desolate are that is uninhabited, unowned and desolate. No man’s land is sometimes used figuratively to mean a vague or undefined state of existence. The term no man’s land was first used in the 1300s to describe a desolate place that is unowned and uninhabited, the Old English spelling is nanesmaneslande. The phrase no man’s land, meaning the area between the front lines of opposing armies, was first used in the 1860s, though it became a much more common use of the term during World War I. Note the spelling of man’s, it is the possessive form of the word man.


Prominent Lagosians and other Nigerians have lambasted those who refer to Lagos as a “No man’s land”, saying there were settlers before others came. (The Premium Times)

Barnes found himself in no-man’s land in 2015, pitching both as a starter and as a mop-up reliever as he worked his way into the major leagues. (The Providence Journal)

That border was a kind of no man’s land, populated by British soldiers, gunmen and smugglers during the decades of battles against the Irish Republican Army. (The Washington Post)

The family was in no man’s land, a diplomatic minefield, where human rights and mercy do not exist. (The Daily Sabah)