Definition of wood in English:

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Pronunciation: /wʊd/


1 [mass noun] The hard fibrous material that forms the main substance of the trunk or branches of a tree or shrub, used for fuel or timber: a block of wood [count noun]: best quality woods were used for joinery
More example sentences
  • This will become the first housing scheme in the UK to be communally heated with piped hot water from a single boiler fuelled by waste wood from local timber.
  • You are much less likely to be arrested for destroying London trees if you buy planks of wood from a local timber merchant.
  • He said that in Jepara, the center of Central Java's furniture industry, the quality of teak wood was poor.
timber, planks, planking;
North American  lumber
firewood, kindling, logs;
1.1 (the wood) Wooden barrels used for storing alcoholic drinks: wines from the wood
More example sentences
  • No, we never had any ale in the wood since I went.
  • Tannins in wine come predominantly from the grapes and to a much lesser extent, from the wood in which it was aged.
  • They shipped the new Beaujolais in cask and served it direct from the wood.
1.2 [count noun] A golf club with a wooden or other head that is relatively broad from face to back (often with a numeral indicating the degree to which the face is angled to loft the ball): [in combination]: he hit the ball with a three-wood
More example sentences
  • All lines feature woods with high lofts, thin grips and lightweight graphite shafts.
  • The precious cargo of two dozen gutta-perch balls, three woods, three irons and a putter arrived at the doorstep of John Reid's new home in Yonkers not a day too soon.
  • I am an enthusiastic if occasional golfer: I can hit the ball well with my woods, but have little control over my irons.
1.3 [count noun] Golf A shot made with a wood: he’s hitting a wood for his second shot
More example sentences
  • He crushes a three wood with his second shot, which comes up 30 yards shy of the green.
  • Whereupon he wildly hit a wood shot into the creek and took a 7.
  • Chris Ferris's effort coming with a three wood second shot at the par four 4th hole.
1.4 another term for bowl2 (sense 1 of the noun).
2 (also woods) An area of land, smaller than a forest, that is covered with growing trees: a thick hedge divided the wood from the field a long walk in the woods
More example sentences
  • No forests, woods or scrub lands are burning out of control.
  • Trees grown in woods and forests do not suffer from this anywhere nearly as badly as lone trees that don't have any neighbours to shelter behind.
  • While U.S. campers backpack through woods and forest lands, Malaysian campers trek through the jungle.
forest, woodland, trees;
copse, thicket, coppice, grove, brake;
British  spinney
archaic holt, greenwood
rare boscage



be unable to see the wood (or North American the forest) for the trees

Fail to grasp the main issue because of over-attention to details: it is often difficult for people in organizations to see the wood for the trees
More example sentences
  • You guys just cannot see the wood for the trees can you?
  • The result is biographies in which we cannot see the wood for the trees.
  • But in Kelly's own universe of absolutist morality one cannot see the forest for the trees and one scandal such as prisoner abuse somehow overshadows and negates the far greater good of seeing the end of tyranny.

have the wood on

Australian informal Have an advantage over: other teams have the wood on us at scrum time
More example sentences
  • The game unfolds, and it looks as if Wellington have the wood on Canterbury.
  • After 14 games, they have the wood on the Swans, having beaten them by 33, 90, and most recently 49 points in their battles this year.
  • Stars have had the wood on Rovers so far this year.

knock on wood

North American
Said in order to prevent a confident statement from bringing bad luck: I have never, knock on wood, been typecast
With reference to the custom of touching something wooden to ward off bad luck

out of the wood (or woods)

[usually with negative] Out of danger or difficulty: we are not out of the woods but we have been thrown a lifeline
More example sentences
  • Observers, however, do not doubt that the company is well down the recovery track - if not quite out of the woods.
  • Neither he nor his illustrious brother seem out of the woods yet.
  • Her doctor said, Yes, she's out of the woods, with a quickening and lightening of his voice.

touch wood

Said in order to prevent a confident statement from bringing bad luck: I haven’t been banned yet, touch wood
With reference to the custom of touching something wooden to ward off bad luck
More example sentences
  • So far we have only had one trip to York District Hospital (fingers crossed, touch wood and spit for luck) after he ran head first into the fireplace and got a bruised lump roughly the size of a pickled egg on his noggin.
  • He would throw salt over his shoulder and knock on wood just for good luck, I didn't learn this until I lived with him.
  • I used direct deposit, it hasn't been a problem as of yet, knock on wood.
hope for the best;
knock on wood, cross one's fingers, keep one's fingers crossed



Example sentences
  • The University of Delaware's Affordable Composites from Renewable Sources program is devising techniques to manufacture soy-based plastics that can be used to build hurricane-resistant housing with woodless lumber.
  • Thanks Jamie for the comments on the Derwent woodless pencils - I think I'll stay away from those!
  • You'll have to browse the galleries of DW's official woodless construction website for that.


Old English wudu, from a Germanic word related to Welsh gwŷdd 'trees'.

  • The first meaning of wood was ‘a tree’, although the sense ‘small forest’ was found soon after. People touch wood (or in North America knock on wood) to ward off bad luck. The expression is recorded only since 1849. Be unable to see the wood from the trees is older, dating from the mid 16th century. Another phrase relating to the ‘small forest’ sense is out of the woods, meaning ‘out of danger or difficulty’. This probably comes from the 18th-century proverb don't halloo [shout for joy] till you are out of the wood. See also nasty, neck, spoon

Words that rhyme with wood

could, good, hood, Likud, misunderstood, pud, should, stood, understood, withstood, would

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: wood

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