dead·​wood ˈded-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce deadwood (audio)
: wood dead on the tree
: useless personnel or material
: solid timbers built in at the extreme bow and stern of a ship when too narrow to permit framing
: bowling pins that have been knocked down but remain on the alley

Examples of deadwood in a Sentence

She's determined to get the deadwood out of the company. a healthy tree with no deadwood
Recent Examples on the Web The genus is known to feed on deadwood, dead leaves, leaf litter or lichens, according to Hoare. Rina Diane Caballar, Discover Magazine, 12 Nov. 2023 Only the White has the right balance of water, sediment, sandbars with backwaters, sheltering cottonwood forests and pool-forming deadwood to sustain themselves without hatchery help. Brandon Loomis, The Arizona Republic, 30 June 2023 If your maple is in poor health, make minimal cuts or limit yourself to deadwood removal. oregonlive, 25 June 2023 The shears can cut everything from delicate stems to tough branches or deadwood. Nor'adila Hepburn, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 May 2023 Clearing the deadwood Before leaving for Bed Bath & Beyond, Tritton had been enjoying a stellar run at Target as the discount giant’s chief merchant. Phil Wahba, Fortune, 28 Sep. 2022 The plant in Los Angeles has a daily capacity of 24 tons of construction wood waste, deadwood, and agricultural detritus, and will produce 1,000 kg of hydrogen (at a very low price point of around $2 / kg) or 10 million BTU of renewable biogas, and 6 tons of solid carbon char every day. Erik Kobayashi-Solomon, Forbes, 2 May 2022 While Rambo kneeled amid the deadwood, pulling security, Herring stepped out from under the canopy, draping a poncho over his head to hide the glow of his controller’s monitor. Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, 26 Dec. 2022 One of Neil’s most celebrated trees, a subalpine fir, has a sharp spire of deadwood rising high above the foliage mass, like a skyscraper poking through clouds. Robert Moor, The New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'deadwood.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of deadwood was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near deadwood

Cite this Entry

“Deadwood.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


dead·​wood -ˌwu̇d How to pronounce deadwood (audio)
: wood that is dead on a tree
: useless material or unproductive persons

Geographical Definition


geographical name

Dead·​wood ˈded-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce Deadwood (audio)
city in the Black Hills of western South Dakota that was settled circa 1876 following the discovery of gold nearby population 1270

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