heart·​wood | \ ˈhärt-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce heartwood (audio) \

Definition of heartwood

: the older harder nonliving central wood of trees that is usually darker, denser, less permeable, and more durable than the surrounding sapwood

Examples of heartwood in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The tree was diagnosed as having decayed heartwood and cannot be saved, Nelson said. Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot, "Newport to go ahead with cutting down three condemned Balboa Island trees initially spared the saw," 14 Oct. 2019 That is normal behavior for ancient yews; often the heartwood rots out, giving the elderly tree a lighter load to bear. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "U.K.’s Oldest Tree Is Being Besieged by Tourists," 21 June 2019 Tireless Henderson Islanders squaring off Pacific rosewood, adzes made from giant clamshells, chewing out chocolate shavings from the dark heartwood. Jonny Diamond, Longreads, "Lumbersexuality, a Sport and a Pastime," 8 June 2019 Ax-wielding carpenters hack at tree trunks to create the castle’s roof beams — a single beam from the heartwood of each tree. Kim Willsher, latimes.com, "A medieval castle in France could be Notre Dame's salvation," 6 June 2019 Branches, bark, and heartwood—what appears to be nothing more than floating debris—become either home to or sustenance for a range of plants and animals. Brian Payton, Smithsonian, "How Driftwood Reshapes Ecosystems," 9 Feb. 2018 The arts—the school’s core mission—have been cleaned out: 10 easels, nine digital pianos, eight heartwood djembes, and four conga drums, all gone. Annie Waldman, Slate Magazine, "Failing Charter Schools Have a Reincarnation Plan," 19 Sep. 2017 For decking that's 100 percent heartwood, the CRA suggests using construction heart redwood. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Choose a Deck Material That Is Right for You," 6 June 2017 However, the level of weather- and bug-resistance is directly related to the amount of heartwood in the boards. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Choose a Deck Material That Is Right for You," 6 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heartwood.' 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 heartwood

circa 1575, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for heartwood

Time Traveler

The first known use of heartwood was circa 1575

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Cite this Entry

“Heartwood.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heartwood. Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for heartwood


heart·​wood | \ ˈhärt-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce heartwood (audio) \

Kids Definition of heartwood

: the usually dark wood in the center of a tree

More from Merriam-Webster on heartwood

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with heartwood

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about heartwood

Comments on heartwood

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


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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