wood·en | \ ˈwu̇-dᵊn \

Definition of wooden 

1 : made or consisting of wood

2 : lacking ease or flexibility : awkwardly stiff a wooden speech a wooden performer

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Other words from wooden

woodenly adverb
woodenness \ˈwu̇-dᵊn-(n)əs \ noun

Did You Know?

Humans have been making objects out of wood since before there even was an English language, but the adjectival use of "wood" didn't come into being until the 14th century, and "wooden" didn't appear until the 16th. (The word wood has ancient roots, but it originally existed only as a noun.) In Middle English, the adjective of choice was "tree" or "treen," as in a "tree vessel" or "treen shoes." "Treen" in turn came from the Old English word trēowen, from the noun "trēow" ("tree") and the suffix -en, which was used to indicate that something was composed of a certain material. As far as we know, no one ever used "treen" figuratively to describe things that are stiff as a board, but "wooden" was put to broader use soon after it was first recorded.

Examples of wooden in a Sentence

The guest speaker was wooden and uninspiring. a movie with wooden dialogue

Recent Examples on the Web

Manuel Oliver painted 17 small circles onto the wooden canvas alongside Lake Eola. Steven Lemongello, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Parkland students, families bring 'Road to Change' tour to Orlando," 14 July 2018 There was a baby swing, two bright yellow wooden rocking chairs, and five cribs, one holding a sleeping baby. Kaila White, azcentral, "Separated migrant kids younger than 5 held in Phoenix may be reunified Tuesday," 10 July 2018 Inside, there are only two wooden chairs, a narrow counter by the window for standing, and three leather ottomans outside, so there’s not a lot of room to spread. Bon Appetit, "Burrow," 25 June 2018 Detroit Free Press Judith Christensen took the time Tuesday morning to haul a heavy wooden chair out of her house and set it on her front lawn. Marc Daalder, Detroit Free Press, "Hopes and fears in Corktown as Ford celebrates train station purchase," 19 June 2018 Diners sit elbow-to-elbow in rows of ruby red leather banquettes or wooden bistro chairs, chatting over generous portions of beef bourguignon and escargots dressed in parsley butter. Lindsey Tramuta, New York Times, "At a Nostalgic Paris Restaurant, Food Takes a Back Seat to Fun," 16 June 2018 There was an app through which people could use AR slingshots to shoot AR projectiles at each other’s AR wooden structures, like Angry Birds mixed with Pokémon Go. Peter Rubin, WIRED, "Apple's New AR Features Are Proof That Wearables Are Coming," 5 June 2018 The couple’s wedding planner, Stefanie Cove, used wooden chairs and created a plank aisle so that the entire design scheme looked organic within the space. Alexandra Macon, Vogue, "Meggie Kempner’s Gorgeous Garden Wedding in Beverly Hills," 24 May 2018 The condition the ships were in Its wooden hull structures and timbers had apparently degraded over the years, leaving only what was left of the cargo and metal parts of the ship, such as the anchors and fittings. David Williams, CNN, "Flight MH370 is still missing, but the search has revealed two ships that vanished 140 years ago," 4 May 2018

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

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for wooden

Last Updated

18 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wooden

The first known use of wooden was in 1538

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More Definitions for wooden



English Language Learners Definition of wooden

: made of wood

: awkward or stiff : not having or showing any emotion, energy, etc.


wood·en | \ ˈwu̇-dᵊn \

Kids Definition of wooden

1 : made of wood

2 : lacking spirit, ease, or charm a wooden manner

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More from Merriam-Webster on wooden

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for wooden

Spanish Central: Translation of wooden

Nglish: Translation of wooden for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of wooden for Arabic Speakers

Comments on wooden

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


a magnificent or impressive array

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