wood·​en | \ ˈwu̇-dᵊn How to pronounce wooden (audio) \

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 How to pronounce woodenness (audio) \ 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 Granted, Mackie seems a bit stilted and wooden, and as with S1, many of the villains are not especially complex characters. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Review: Altered Carbon comes back strong with twisty, fast-paced S2," 27 Feb. 2020 Mizuno is, sadly, rather wooden and one-dimensional. oregonlive, "Alex Garland’s ‘Devs’ gets FX on Hulu off to an artistic, sometimes baffling start," 25 Feb. 2020 Inside, the home boasts a modern Santa Fe style, with brown leather and wooden pieces populating the space. Kelly Corbett, House Beautiful, "This Luxe Ranch in Arizona Claims to Have Been a Meeting Place for John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe," 22 Jan. 2020 Shun Kanso Santoku, 7 Inch Hollow Ground Kitchen Knife This knife, with its stainless steel blade and wooden handle, allows for full control when chopping vegetables, meat, or fruit. Sara Hendricks, USA TODAY, "These are the best Amazon deals already live for Cyber Monday," 30 Nov. 2019 At first, the mascot was a three-foot long wooden or fiberglass dachshund, Moyer isn't sure which. Dana Hunsinger Benbow, Indianapolis Star, "He's spent 50 years as scorekeeper for the Frankfort basketball Hot Dogs," 26 Nov. 2019 The results, when the material does not fit the underlying musical style, are wooden. Nicholas M. Gallagher, National Review, "The Vietnam War at the Kentucky Opera," 23 Nov. 2019 Sprinkle almond-sugar mixture on top and bake until golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Olive Oil-Clementine Cake," 14 Nov. 2019 ShypSafe Cube and Lock are handmade wooden and weather-friendly boxes that can be placed near a home's front door for delivery drivers to securely put packages into. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A Glendale alderman and his son invented a device to protect packages from porch pirates," 12 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for wooden

Time Traveler

The first known use of wooden was in 1538

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Statistics for wooden

Last Updated

19 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wooden.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wooden. Accessed 28 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for wooden


How to pronounce wooden (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wooden

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


wood·​en | \ ˈwu̇-dᵊn How to pronounce wooden (audio) \

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

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