What Does Never Never Land Mean?

Never Never Land Meaning

Definition: 1) A fantasyland; 2) a rural region with few people in Australia.

Origin of Never Never Land

This expression first appeared in the 1800s in Australia. Locals used this term to describe the mostly uninhabited areas of the country, also known as the outback.

This term had different connotations to different people. Some people spoke of this land as a place that people would never, never want to go. Others spoke of it as a place people never, never wanted to leave.

Nowadays, the meaning of never never land as an uninhabited, rural area is common only in Australia.

The more common meaning, a fantasy land, became popular due to its inclusion in the well-known children’s tale Peter Pan, a tale by J.M. Barrie from the year 1904. In this fictional story, Neverland is a wonderful place where children never grow up. They can live happy, magical lives as children in perpetuity.

Examples of Never Never Land

where is never never landIn the dialogue below, two friends are discussing their childhood dreams. In this example, they use the expression to refer to the children’s tale.

Tina: What did you want to be when you grew up, when you were a child?

Keanu: Actually, I never wanted to grow up. I wanted to be Peter Pan.

Tina: That’s so cute!

Keanu: Yeah. I wanted to live in Neverland. I thought it sounded so adventurous.

how do you get to never never land In this example, one friend is arguing with another about the likelihood of something.

Jonah: Thanks for inviting me to the bar tonight, but I think I’ll stay home. My ex-girlfriend said she might stop by my house.

Tatiana: Just tell her to call you if she wants to come over.

Jonah: She doesn’t have a phone. I just have to wait.

Tatiana: She is just messing with you. You’re living in never never land if you think that you and she are going to get back together! It’s never going to happen, no matter how much you might want it!

More Examples

This excerpt is about Medicaid and political reform to laws regarding health care.

  • Only in the never-never land of Washington budget accounting and the news media’s reporting on it would something that grows with both inflation and population be considered a “cut.” –USA Today

The second example is about a beautiful vacation destination.

  • Ask a dozen people what Molokai is all about, and you’ll get a dozen different answers. To some it’s a playground for outdoor adventure, to others it’s a place for serious relaxation. To Greg Solatorio it’s Never Never Land. And he’s Peter Pan. –USA Today

Summary

Never never land means land with low population when used in Australia. In other parts of the English-speaking world, it refers to a fantastical place that doesn’t exist in reality.