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

Our bunk at camp was a clapboard cabin with two rows of cots and tall wooden cubbies. Jamie Lauren Keiles, Vox, "How the JAP became America’s most complex Jewish stereotype.," 5 Dec. 2018 But watching someone hunker down behind a wooden box for five minutes isn’t all that entertaining. Andrew Webster, The Verge, "Red Dead Online’s battle royale mode is slow, tense, and nothing like Fortnite," 29 Nov. 2018 Let the new Nutcracker and the Four Realms film coming out this November inspire your aesthetic and fill your home with the classic wooden character. Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "Christmas Tree Shops Just Released Its Holiday Decor and We Want Everything," 13 Oct. 2018 For instance, in 2016’s vampire play Delusion: His Crimson Queen, I was asked to retrieve wooden stakes from a closet. Juliet Bennett Rylah, Los Angeles Magazine, "After a Year Hiatus, One of L.A.’s Scariest Theater Experiences Is Returning," 22 June 2018 At the back of his 2-acre property off Skyline Drive in Eagle River last week, Brian Trimble gestured to a wooden stake with a pink survey flag tied to the top. Devin Kelly, Anchorage Daily News, "On Anchorage’s windy mountainsides, turbines could reduce homeowners’ dependence on the grid," 16 May 2018 By night, the Japanese hand-carved, covered wooden bridge and the store-fronts along the river glow under silk lanterns strewn like Mardi Gras beads throughout the village. Pilar Guzmán, Condé Nast Traveler, "Editor’s Letter: Keeping It Real in the World’s Most Touristed Destinations," 1 May 2018 If the floating homes aren’t available, Amansara can customize day trips on its beautiful wooden boat. Rebecca Misner, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Deeper in Cambodia," 19 Nov. 2018 Venice Limousine Service has beautiful wooden boats and, in my view, by far the most dashing (and charming) drivers. Skye Mcalpine, Vogue, "An Insider’s Guide to Navigating Venice During the Film Festival," 28 Aug. 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

11 Dec 2018

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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

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living or existing for a long time

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