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

Mosquitoes filled the air as Alex Contreras, 14, taught two girls, Ellen Hossain, 11, and Charlotte Young, 9, how to tie a clove hitch knot around a long wooden stick. Author: Samantha Schmidt, Kayla Epstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Lawsuits. Possible bankruptcy. Declining members. Is there a future for the Boy Scouts?," 14 Sep. 2019 Court documents say there were interior wooden doors and a metal gate that could not be opened from the inside, and an electrical system that could not handle the number of tenants. Washington Post, "Housing inspector under scrutiny after officials says another rooming house case mishandled," 31 Aug. 2019 What links them all is a materials-first approach that celebrates the existing elements of the space: Ceiling cracks are retained, plaster walls reveal their natural patina, and wooden doors are stripped back. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "These 6 European Apartments Are Basically Private Design Hotels," 23 Aug. 2019 Dessert was a Boston cream pie in the shape of a bite-size Twinkie on a wooden stick. Vogue, "Thom Browne and FarFetch Host a Fantastical Seersucker Picnic at NeueHouse," 23 Aug. 2019 Police also recovered a wooden stick from the pickup that appeared to have blood on it, according to the affidavit, the the truck's data recorder indicated that the vehicle was still accelerating at the time of the collision. Tom Steele, Dallas News, "Man faces murder charge after he ran down bicyclist over stolen gun, then beat him, Dallas police say," 22 Aug. 2019 Each of their alijos is equipped with at least two (and sometimes more than a dozen) long wooden sticks called jimbas, to which the fisherman attaches his lines. Tik Root, Time, "Inside the Race to Build the World's First Commercial Octopus Farm," 21 Aug. 2019 Handlebar Enter through the extra-wide wooden door into this bicycle-themed bar. Tirion Morris, azcentral, "We went to every single bar on Mill Avenue in Tempe. Here's your guide," 16 Aug. 2019 The entrance from the clubhouse is through the weight room via a wooden door. Peter Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, "We can thank Astros, Diamondbacks for saving the trade deadline," 3 Aug. 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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Statistics for wooden

Last Updated

18 Sep 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 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

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).


miscellaneous remnants or debris

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