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war +‎ wood. Perhaps at least partly an allusion to koa (Acacia koa), a tree endemic to Hawaii with wood similar in quality to Juglans nigra, black walnut, and whose name in Hawaiian can also mean warrior, or to beefwood (Casuarina equisetifolia}) which also has deep-colored, hard wood and in some Polynesian languages shares the same association between the name and words for warriors (both cognate with the Hawaiian term).


warwood (uncountable)

  1. Wood used for military materiel, especially in the context of historical warfare
    • 1849, Herman Melville, Mardi
      Sons of battle! Hunters of men!
      Raise high your war-wood!
      Hack away merry men, hack away.
    • 1851, Herman Melville, Moby-Dick
      Wooden whales, or whales cut in profile out of the small dark slabs of the noble South Sea warwood, are frequently met with in the forecastles of American whalers.
      ...little canoes of dark wood, like the rich warwood of his native isle.
    • 1880, Gerald Manley Hopkins, "Spring and fall to a young child" in T.M. Flormata-Ballesteros, Speech and Oral Communication, page 144, ISBN 9715740693.
      By and by, nor spare a sigh
      Though worlds of warwood leafmeal lie