1 of 2


: a piece of lumber approximately 2 by 4 inches as sawed and usually 1 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches when dressed


2 of 2


: small or petty of its kind
this house and its two-by-four gardenPhilip Barry
: measuring two units (such as inches) by four

Examples of two-by-four in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Jacobsen took photos of wood rot, a broken joist held together with a two-by-four, a major beam supported by a temporary, metal brace. Eric Adler, Kansas City Star, 22 Mar. 2024 His work helped form the then-emerging future bass subgenre, which, like the bass music that influenced it, is huge and often heavy but also simultaneously soft — like getting hit in the head with a two-by-four wrapped in velvet. Katie Bain, Billboard, 13 Mar. 2024 When Murray arrived, Barnhill hit him in the back of the head with a shovel, then continued beating him with the shovel and a two-by-four, prosecutors said. Olivia Lloyd, Miami Herald, 7 Feb. 2024 Napa Chardonnay may have been the style that prompted the ABC (Anything But Chardonnay) movement, as wine drinkers began to move on from a style that tasted like a two-by-four dipped in butter in favor of more fruit forward, refreshing pours. Mike Desimone and Jeff Jenssen, Robb Report, 10 Jan. 2024 At the sawmill Most single-family homes in North America are wood-frame construction featuring the ubiquitous two-by-four. William Booth, Washington Post, 31 Oct. 2023 Williams, who had been shot in the left leg, said someone stitched his wound on a two-by-four. CBS News, 14 Apr. 2023 The stud is simply a vertical two-by-four beam in the wall for structural support. Kelly Allen, House Beautiful, 30 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'two-by-four.' 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


1884, in the meaning defined above


1897, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of two-by-four was in 1884

Dictionary Entries Near two-by-four

Cite this Entry

“Two-by-four.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a piece of lumber sawed to approximately 2 by 4 inches (5 by 10 centimeters)
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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