soft·​wood | \ ˈsȯft-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce softwood (audio) \

Definition of softwood

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the wood of a coniferous tree (such as a fir or pine) whether hard or soft as distinguished from that of an angiospermous tree
2 : a tree that yields softwood



Definition of softwood (Entry 2 of 2)

: having or made of softwood

Examples of softwood in a Sentence


pines, firs, and other softwoods

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

If using softwood, such as pine or cedar, consider cutting the parts slightly thicker and wider to give the bed frame the necessary strength and rigidity. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Build Your Own Bed Frame," 21 Feb. 2019 Hardwoods are stronger, more rigid and, not surprisingly, harder than softwoods. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Build Your Own Bed Frame," 21 Feb. 2019 Most of the trees Franklin spotted that day were higher-elevation softwood species that — due to their thin bark — can easily be killed by a fire’s heat. Hal Bernton, The Seattle Times, "In a changing climate, will fire make a bigger run in Washington’s west-side forests?," 4 Sep. 2018 Do not plant under cedar, redwood, or other aromatic softwoods, since these produce anti-fungal compounds. Sunset, "How to Grow Mushrooms," 22 Jan. 2018 Shortages of lumber have been a common complaint among homebuilders thanks to a years-long trade dispute with Canada over softwood lumber. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "Why shrinking U.S. homes may be a boost to homebuyers," 29 Nov. 2018 There have also been shortages of construction labor and softwood lumber, which have slowed the pace of home building in general. Jeff Andrews, Curbed, "A brand new single-family neighborhood, where every unit is a rental," 10 Sep. 2018 This simple setup uses a scrap piece of plywood with a small retaining rim, made out of 1/2 x 1/2–inch softwood, for each stone. Roy Berendson, Popular Mechanics, "How to Make Your Own Sharpening Stone Station," 22 Aug. 2018 The United States and Canada, for example, have squabbled for decades over softwood lumber. Paul Wiseman And Christopher Rugaber, USA TODAY, "Trump's tariffs: A closer look at what they are and how they will work," 9 July 2018

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


1809, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1855, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for softwood

Last Updated

14 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for softwood

The first known use of softwood was in 1809

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English Language Learners Definition of softwood

: the wood of a tree (such as a pine tree) that is soft and easy to cut
: a tree that produces softwood


soft·​wood | \ ˈsȯft-ˌwu̇d How to pronounce softwood (audio) \

Kids Definition of softwood

: the wood of a tree (as a pine or spruce) that has needles as distinguished from the wood of a tree (as a maple) with broad leaves

More from Merriam-Webster on softwood

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with softwood Encyclopedia article about softwood

Comments on softwood

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a secret plot to overthrow a government

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