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

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Examples of deadwood in a Sentence

Noun She's determined to get the deadwood out of the company. a healthy tree with no deadwood
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In the short term, Inter may try once more to streamline their squad, to shed some of the deadwood that was up for sale last summer. Emmet Gates, Forbes, 6 Oct. 2021 The resulting deadwood would be hauled out by truck and even helicopter to new biomass facilities and private timber mills to be transformed into electricity, boards and other products. San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Aug. 2021 The freedom to cut deadwood is a competitive advantage for the Pack and contributed mightily to the past three decades of success. Luther Ray Abel, National Review, 3 Aug. 2021 Another would be signing long-term contracts with companies to harvest deadwood from forests for commercial purposes. Matt Canham, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 June 2021 Also stay clear of plants that produce fine, dry or dead leaves or needles, as well as those that accumulate deadwood within the plant. oregonlive, 2 June 2021 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, 10 Nov. 2020 The sculpture was a surprisingly delicate rendering of a deer crafted by 13-year-old artist Elizabeth Gutierrez from scraps of deadwood she and her brother William, 8, collected in the park. Richard A. Marini,, 15 Sep. 2020 The eating of bark kills trees — allowing sunny clearings for plants, and new homes for insects that live in deadwood, which are then sources of food for birds and other mammals. Wyatte Grantham-philips, USA TODAY, 11 July 2020

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.

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First Known Use of deadwood


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

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Dictionary Entries Near deadwood

deadweight ton



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Last Updated

14 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deadwood.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of deadwood

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

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