dead·​wood | \ ˈded-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce deadwood (audio) \

Definition of deadwood

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : wood dead on the tree
2 : useless personnel or material
3 : solid timbers built in at the extreme bow and stern of a ship when too narrow to permit framing
4 : bowling pins that have been knocked down but remain on the alley


geographical name
Dead·​wood | \ ˈded-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce Deadwood (audio) \

Definition of Deadwood (Entry 2 of 2)

city in the Black Hills of western South Dakota that was settled circa 1876 following the discovery of gold nearby population 1270

Keep scrolling for more

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: Noun

One problem for landowners is disposing of deadwood. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "California’s Paradise Lost," 12 Nov. 2018 The Blaugrana are on a mission to remove deadwood from the squad this summer, and the Toffees are one of a handful of clubs eager to snap up a number of deals ahead of the new season., "Everton Make Enquiry for Barcelona Striker After Spanish Giants Open Door for £30m Deal," 7 July 2018 To do will require some clearing of deadwood from Ernesto Valverde's title winning squad., "Report Names 11 Players Who Are Tipped to Leave Barcelona This Summer to Make Way for New Arrivals," 25 June 2018 Pellegrini may have to shift some of the deadwood first though, as reports suggest Real Madrid could demand as much as €50m for their prized asset, with Los Blancos seemingly in no hurry to sell., "West Ham Approach Real Madrid for Wantaway Midfield Star Mateo Kovačić," 3 July 2018 Hector Bellerin has been named as one of Unai Emery's five 'untouchable' players at the Emirates, as the new Arsenal manager prepares to trim the deadwood from his squad., "Hector Bellerin Named as One of Unai Emery's 5 'Untouchables' at Arsenal as New Regime Takes Shape," 19 June 2018 After many seasons relentlessly trying to rid themselves of their deadwood, this transfer window seems to be the most fruitful for the Gunners in terms of outgoing transfers., "Out-of-Favour Arsenal Fullback Mathieu Debuchy Nears Move to St Etienne," 31 Jan. 2018 United offloaded deadwood for a world-class winger, while Arsenal signed a player capable of great performances at the expense of someone who could have left for free., "Arsenal & Man Utd Fans React on Twitter to Possibility of Chris Smalling Swapping Sides," 23 Jan. 2018 Arsenal will also be expected to be busy on the departures front, as the club prepares to offload deadwood, as well as send promising youngsters out on loan for more certainty on game time., "Arsenal Boss Arsene Wenger Expects More Transfer Business Before the Deadline," 31 Jan. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deadwood.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of deadwood


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about deadwood

Statistics for deadwood

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deadwood

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for deadwood



English Language Learners Definition of deadwood

: people or things that are not useful or helpful in achieving a goal
: dead wood on a tree

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on deadwood

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with deadwood

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deadwood Encyclopedia article about deadwood

Comments on deadwood

What made you want to look up deadwood? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!