verb (1)
lum·​ber | \ ˈləm-bər How to pronounce lumber (audio) \
lumbered; lumbering\ ˈləm-​b(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce lumbering (audio) \

Definition of lumber

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

1 : to move ponderously an elephant lumbering along the road The economy continues to lumber along.
2 : rumble lumbering machines



Definition of lumber (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : surplus or disused articles (such as furniture) that are stored away
2a : timber or logs especially when dressed for use
b : any of various structural materials prepared in a form similar to lumber


verb (2)
lumbered; lumbering\ ˈləm-​b(ə-​)riŋ How to pronounce lumbering (audio) \

Definition of lumber (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to clutter with or as if with lumber : encumber plan to lumber the tiny town with a giant ski resort— Marilyn Stasio
2 : to heap together in disorder
3 : to log and saw the timber of

intransitive verb

1 : to cut logs for lumber
2 : to saw logs into lumber for the market

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Other Words from lumber


lumber adjective

Verb (2)

lumberer \ ˈləm-​bər-​ər How to pronounce lumberer (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for lumber

Synonyms: Noun

timber, wood

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Examples of lumber in a Sentence


He works for a lumber company. had a clearout of all his old lumber and finally got rid of it

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The cookie fight A decade ago, Chrome and Firefox were taking on Microsoft’s lumbering giant Internet Explorer. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "Review: Google Chrome has become surveillance software. It’s time to switch.," 21 June 2019 With each new lead, teams of American and Bahamian recovery workers lumbered forward into the debris, wearing white hazmat suits and masks. Washington Post, "Crews in the Bahamas keep finding more bodies. The official Hurricane Dorian death toll is rising more slowly.," 10 Sep. 2019 Yet Western Union was still a big, lumbering company. Owen Thomas,, "Western Union beats a strategic retreat from San Francisco," 28 Aug. 2019 Tropical Storm Barry is lumbering toward the coast of Louisiana and is set to dump monumental amounts of rain. Andrea Thompson, Scientific American, "Tropical Storm Barry’s Dangers Will Reach Far Inland," 12 July 2019 This is a lumbering brute of a film, a creaky rollercoaster that inches a little too slowly toward every drop. David Sims, The Atlantic, "It Chapter Two Is a Blockbuster Horror Epic," 3 Sep. 2019 Those changes, hailed in many quarters, come as the economic development tool is already lumbering amid visa backlogs that have become almost prohibitive -- and uncertainty over whether Congress will even continue to authorize the program. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "Trump takes aim at 'golden visa' program that's pumped hundreds of millions of dollars in investment into Texas," 24 Aug. 2019 One and a half seconds later, the time needed for the signal to reach Earth, home TV screens should light up with the scene of Armstrong lumbering toward the LM. James R. Berry, Popular Mechanics, "Man's First Day on the Moon," 19 July 2019 The herds of bison, mammoths, horses, and reindeer that lumbered across the Pleistocene steppes, Sergey Zimov has long argued, did more than just eat the grass. Katie Orlinsky, National Geographic, "Arctic permafrost is thawing fast. That affects us all.," 16 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Under Charles, the company expanded from oil refineries into lumber, coal, chemicals, Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, and more. Alexander Sammon, The New Republic, "Oligarch of the Month: Charles Koch," 28 Aug. 2019 Look at anything made from trees—a ream of paper, a cardboard box, lumber—and it's probably stamped with the logo of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or an equivalent organization. Erik Stokstad, Science | AAAS, "Scientists say sustainable forestry organizations should lift ban on biotech trees," 23 Aug. 2019 But the decline in lumber prices will eat into profit margins. Peter Eavis, New York Times, "These Companies Wanted Tariffs. How Are They Faring Now?," 10 July 2019 The landmark mill had trouble recovering after the recession and closed in the summer of 2015 when there was a glut of lumber and too little demand, according to an Everett Herald story from that time. Christine Clarridge, The Seattle Times, "Early-morning fire burns former Snohomish sawmill, the last of an era," 28 Aug. 2019 Dozens of other commodities such as lumber and building supplies leave the San Diego port by rail. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Del Mar is weak link in San Diego’s coastal railroad," 28 July 2019 Now, with the costs of lumber and other building materials soaring together, buyers are unlikely to see any relief for some time., "Why High-Flying U.S. Home Prices Are About to Get Another Jolt," 25 Apr. 2018 In a 1968 letter Kenner mentions that Ezra Pound had designed a sturdy table consisting of a dozen pieces of lumber nailed together. Michael Dirda, National Review, "The Exhilarating Letters of Guy Davenport and Hugh Kenner," 25 July 2019 President Trump’s import tariffs on building materials like lumber and steel are likely to have a significant impact in costs of return. Rose Meily, The Mercury News, "Remodeling vs. value: Curb appeal projects provide highest returns," 12 July 2019

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

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1552, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1642, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for lumber

Verb (1)

Middle English lomeren


perhaps from Lombard; from the use of pawnshops as storehouses of disused property

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Learn More about lumber

Statistics for lumber

Last Updated

21 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lumber

The first known use of lumber was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for lumber



English Language Learners Definition of lumber

US : wooden boards or logs that have been sawed and cut for use
British : large objects that are no longer used or wanted


lum·​ber | \ ˈləm-bər How to pronounce lumber (audio) \
lumbered; lumbering

Kids Definition of lumber

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to move in a slow or awkward way An elephant lumbered along the road.



Kids Definition of lumber (Entry 2 of 2)

: timber especially when sawed into boards

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More from Merriam-Webster on lumber

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lumber

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lumber

Spanish Central: Translation of lumber

Nglish: Translation of lumber for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lumber for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about lumber

Comments on lumber

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