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 Separate anything that can catch fire — potholders, oven mitts, wooden spoons, paper or plastic bags, dishtowels, etc. Houston Chronicle, "Houston Apartment Association: Follow holiday cooking safety tips in your apartment," 23 Nov. 2019 Add the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. BostonGlobe.com, "SUGAR COOKIES WITH ROYAL ICING," 21 Nov. 2019 Two identical wooden spoons will also work, with the potato resting on the parallel handles. Washington Post, "Who doesn’t like crispy-edged potatoes? Bring on the Hasselback!," 21 Nov. 2019 Heat the pan, using a wooden spoon or whisk to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Justin Ward, ExpressNews.com, "How to make the perfect gravy for Thanksgiving," 19 Nov. 2019 To serve, warm potatoes over low heat, stirring well with wooden spoon. Jess Fleming, Twin Cities, "It’s all about the sides: This Thanksgiving, make vegetables the star," 18 Nov. 2019 Add the Shaoxing wine and stir and scrape with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan deposits. Wolfgang Puck, chicagotribune.com, "A delicious Vietnamese take on braised beef short ribs," 30 Oct. 2019 Using a sturdy spatula or wooden spoon, mash potatoes until smooth. Woman's Day Kitchen, Woman's Day, "Creamy One-Pot Mashed Potatoes," 22 Oct. 2019 In the bowl of a standing mixer or using a wooden spoon, stir seasoning into the butter until well combined. Julia O'malley, Anchorage Daily News, "Give your salmon dinner a kick with this quick butter trick," 3 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for wooden

Time Traveler

The first known use of wooden was in 1538

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Last Updated

27 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Wooden.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/woodener. Accessed 10 December 2019.

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More Definitions for wooden


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.


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).


to state or do over again or repeatedly

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