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

Use a wooden spoon to soften and dissolve any brown residue. Bethany Jean Clement, The Seattle Times, "How one game-changing recipe can make you a better cook: Susan Volland’s ‘Searing Inspiration’," 21 Nov. 2018 Add the cranberries, pear, and cooled compote and use your hands or a wooden spoon to mix completely. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "The Hot and Hearty Pie Recipes to Kick Off Autumn in Your Kitchen," 21 Sep. 2018 Guests gathered around the bonfires peppered throughout the park to toast their marshmallows and make S'mores at a table embellished with graham crackers, bags of marshmallows and wooden sticks. Nerisha Penrose, Billboard, "Here's What Went Down at Kanye West's #ProjectWyoming Brooklyn Pop-Up Shop," 8 June 2018 Tennis’ husband also denied the allegations, saying that the paddle was not a spanking paddle, but rather a wooden paint-mixer stick. Breanna Edwards, The Root, "South Carolina Day Care Owner Accused of Striking a 4-Year-Old With a Paddle Nicknamed ‘Bob’," 6 June 2018 Trappers tear down the trees to pluck babies from nests or put out wooden sticks covered with glue to ensnare adults en masse. National Geographic, "This Popular Parrot 'Talks' Like Us. But We're Silencing It.," 21 May 2018 Holmes bought new skates and a wooden stick, but her shin guards, helmet and everything else was used — about $300 just on gear. Phil Thompson, chicagotribune.com, "ABC7's Evelyn Holmes slowly but surely learning to play hockey: 'I'm not going to quit'," 24 Apr. 2018 Though most lacrosse players use sticks from synthetic materials today, the traditional wooden sticks are making a comeback, says Arnold Printup, a Mohawk historian on the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "The Mohawks who made Maryland's lacrosse sticks," 23 Apr. 2018 Each family will receive two pieces of fabric, twine, wooden sticks and a variety of flowers and botanical materials. Susie Schmank, Indianapolis Star, "14 best things to do to celebrate Earth Day 2018," 18 Apr. 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

6 Feb 2019

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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).


to express emotion in a dramatic way

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