wooden

adjective wood·en \ ˈwu̇-dᵊn \
Updated on: 14 Nov 2017

Definition of wooden

1 : made or consisting of wood
2 : lacking ease or flexibility : awkwardly stiff
  • a wooden speech
  • a wooden performer

woodenly

adverb

woodenness

play \ˈwu̇-dᵊn-(n)əs\ noun

wooden was our Word of the Day on 10/10/2015. Hear the podcast!

Examples of wooden in a Sentence

  1. The guest speaker was wooden and uninspiring.

  2. a movie with wooden dialogue

Recent Examples of wooden from the Web

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.

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.

First Known Use of wooden

1538


WOODEN Defined for English Language Learners

wooden

adjective

Definition of wooden for English Language Learners

  • : made of wood

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


WOODEN Defined for Kids

wooden

adjective wood·en \ ˈwu̇-dᵊn \

Definition of wooden for Students

1 : made of wood
2 : lacking spirit, ease, or charm
  • a wooden manner


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