wooden

adjective
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 In 1947, Howard Hughes piloted his huge wooden flying boat, the Hughes H-4 Hercules (derisively dubbed the ‘‘Spruce Goose’’ by detractors), on its only flight, which lasted about a minute over Long Beach Harbor in California. BostonGlobe.com, "Today is Saturday, Nov. 2, the 306th day of 2019. There are 59 days left in the year.," 2 Nov. 2019 She and 300 other Africans had just endured six hours crammed in a wooden smuggling boat to cross the narrow strait between the Red Sea and the gulf. Washington Post, "Migrants endure rape and torture on route through Yemen," 2 Nov. 2019 The Italians had been right: The coordinates put the wooden boat inside Malta’s rescue zone, so Isler emailed the Maltese RCC. Ben Ehrenreich, The New Republic, "Inside the effort to rescue Europe’s unwelcome immigrants," 17 Oct. 2019 Malaysian authorities two years earlier intercepted four Filipinos in wooden boats carrying 19,000 eggs. Craig Welch, National Geographic, "Sea turtles are surviving—despite us," 20 Sep. 2019 The little wooden boat remains unfinished to this day. Ryan Prior, CNN, "A Nebraska teen's senior photos honored her father who was killed in Afghanistan," 20 Aug. 2019 Little fishing harbors, colorful wooden boats, red geraniums, and rows of fishermen houses define the landscape with an explosion of color. Harper's BAZAAR, "A Guide to Sicily’s Can’t-Miss Hotspots," 6 Aug. 2019 Some of the houses lack indoor plumbing, others are nothing more than wooden shacks. Danny Gold, SI.com, "The Broken Case of David Ortiz," 23 July 2019 For the uninitiated, dragon boats are essentially long, open wooden boats with designs that make the vessel resemble a dragon. Kaitlyn Bancroft, The Know, "Dragon Boat Festival will feature a spicy noodle soup-eating contest this upcoming weekend," 22 July 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

13 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for wooden

The first known use of wooden was in 1538

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More Definitions for wooden

wooden

adjective
How to pronounce wooden (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wooden

: made of wood
: awkward or stiff : not having or showing any emotion, energy, etc.

wooden

adjective
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

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