sap·​wood ˈsap-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce sapwood (audio)
: the younger softer living or physiologically active outer portion of wood that lies between the cambium and the heartwood and is more permeable, less durable, and usually lighter in color than the heartwood

Examples of sapwood in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The trick is to find a live tree with lots of termite activity, such that the trunk has been hollowed out leaving just the living sapwood shell. Elizabeth Rayne, Ars Technica, 29 Dec. 2023 Fungus can reduce wood strength and may kill storage and conductive tissues in the sapwood. oregonlive, 26 Aug. 2023 What could work, however, is a filter made from some flexible hose, glue, and a chunk of pine sapwood. Popular Science, 2 Nov. 2020 If a knot enlarges or coalesces enough with others to interfere with sapwood transport, then the canopy or root system may begin to suffer decline because the carbohydrates produced by photosynthesis won’t move as freely to where they are needed for growth. Miri Talabac, Baltimore Sun, 30 Mar. 2023 Eat sapwood? Teddy Wayne, The New Yorker, 2 Jan. 2021 However, if affected trees are under severe stress from other factors such as soil compaction, wetwood bacteria can move into the sapwood and cause leaf yellowing, wilting and branch dieback. oregonlive, 13 Mar. 2022 When accounting for the missing sapwood (nine rings for Baltic oak), this means the trees were felled in 1625 or later. Aoife Daly, Discover Magazine, 15 Mar. 2022 Such wounds usually do not knit back together, even if the branch is secured back into place; the tissues that the interrupted sapwood kept alive will dry out and die on the growth past the break. Miri Talabac,, 24 Feb. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'sapwood.' 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

1791, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of sapwood was in 1791

Dictionary Entries Near sapwood

Cite this Entry

“Sapwood.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


sap·​wood -ˌwu̇d How to pronounce sapwood (audio)
: the young sap-containing and usually lighter-colored wood found just beneath the bark of a tree compare heartwood

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