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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from wooden

woodenly adverb
woodenness \ ˈwu̇-​dᵊn-​(n)əs How to pronounce wooden (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 In Farnsley's cafeteria, kids eat at wooden desks spaced apart. Olivia Krauth, The Courier-Journal, "JCPS middle- and high-schoolers are finally back in schools. Here's what lies ahead," 5 Apr. 2021 The Easter Bunny, this time a press aide in costume, later made an appearance at the White House daily press briefing to drop off commemorative wooden eggs and chocolates for reporters. chicagotribune.com, "No egg roll again, but mask-wearing Easter Bunny still visits White House," 5 Apr. 2021 No one quite knew why the soldiers wandered into Aye Myat Thu’s neighborhood of neat wooden houses, each painted a cheerful hue, sprays of bougainvillea adding more splashes of color. New York Times, "‘She Just Fell Down. And She Died.’," 4 Apr. 2021 No one quite knew why the soldiers wandered into Aye Myat Thu’s neighborhood of neat wooden houses, each painted a cheerful hue, sprays of bougainvillea adding more splashes of color. BostonGlobe.com, "‘She just fell down. And she died.’," 4 Apr. 2021 Efforts to fight this fire were difficult, according to Flanagan, due to the building’s wooden interior, constructed in the 1970s. Bob Blubaugh, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "One injured, 11 apartments damaged in Sykesville fire," 3 Apr. 2021 After a couple days of hanging to absorb the oil, the piece enters an 8-foot-high wooden drum powered by an electric motor. Barry Adams, Star Tribune, "Woman-operated Wisconsin tanning company is all natural," 3 Apr. 2021 In what looks like a precarious addition, the laundry room on the second floor overhangs about six feet over the back of the building and is supported by a tall wooden pillar that sits on a single brick. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Ministry for downtown homeless in crisis," 2 Apr. 2021 Another group carried a large wooden cross along the route through the Old City, singing hymns and pausing to offer prayers. Joseph Krauss, Chron, "Christians mark Good Friday amid lingering virus woes," 2 Apr. 2021

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.

See More

First Known Use of wooden

1538, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wooden

Listen to Our Podcast about wooden

Statistics for wooden

Last Updated

7 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wooden.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wooden. Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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 How to pronounce wooden (audio) \

Kids Definition of wooden

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!