No man's land


(1)   The ambiguous region between two categories or states or conditions (usually containing some features of both)
"But there is still a twilight zone, the tantalizing occurrences that are probably noise but might possibly be a signal"
"In the twilight zone between humor and vulgarity"
"In that no man's land between negotiation and aggression"
(2)   An unoccupied area between the front lines of opposing armies
(3)   Land that is unowned and uninhabited (and usually undesirable)


no man’s land
  1. A place where no one can or should be.
    • 2006, March 25, Melissa Hoyos, “‘No man’s land’ has no fire protection”, Tri City Herald
    There’s a 137-square-mile chunk of Franklin County [...] referred to as "no man’s land" because it isn’t protected by any of the county’s four fire districts.
    • 1867: T W Robertson, Caste
    Now, George, if you’re going to consider this question from the point of view of poetry, you’re off to No Man’s Land, where I won’t follow you.
  2. The area between the backcourt and the space close to the net, from which it is difficult to return the ball.
  3. Territory, often disputed, that cannot be inhabited because of fear of conflict, especially:
  4. Tracts of uninhabited territory close to the Iron Curtain.
  5. The stretch of land between the border posts of two contiguous sovereign states, sometimes separated by great distance.
  6. Land not claimed by any recognized sovereign state; terra nullius.


A dispatch printed in the Times newspaper by Colonel E. Swinton writing as "Eyewitness"


no man’s land
  1. The ground between trenches where a soldier from either side would be easily targeted.