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See also: Wood


Varieties of wood (sense 2).
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Etymology 1[edit]

PIE word

From Middle English wode, from Old English wudu, widu (wood, forest, grove; tree; timber), from Proto-West Germanic *widu, from Proto-Germanic *widuz (wood), from Proto-Indo-European *h₁weydʰh₁- (to separate).

Cognate with Dutch wede (wood, twig), Middle High German wite (wood), Danish ved (wood), Swedish ved (firewood), Icelandic viður (wood). Further cognates include Irish fiodh (a wood, tree), Irish fid (tree) and Welsh gwŷdd (trees); all from Proto-Celtic *widus (wood). Unrelated to Dutch woud (forest), German Wald (forest) (see English wold).



wood (countable and uncountable, plural woods)

  1. (uncountable) The substance making up the central part of the trunk and branches of a tree. Used as a material for construction, to manufacture various items, etc. or as fuel.
    This table is made of wood.
    There was lots of wood on the beach.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book X”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, lines 1006–11:
      O that men / (Canſt thou believe ?) ſhould be ſo ſtupid grown, / While yet the Patriark liv’d, who ſcap’d the Flood, / As to forſake the living God, and fall / To worſhip thir own work in Wood and Stone / For Gods !
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, “Foreword”, in The China Governess: A Mystery, London: Chatto & Windus, →OCLC:
      He stood transfixed before the unaccustomed view of London at night time, a vast panorama which reminded him [] of some wood engravings far off and magical, in a printshop in his childhood.
  2. (countable) The wood of a particular species of tree.
    Teak is much used for outdoor benches, but a number of other woods are also suitable, such as ipé, redwood, etc.
    • 1980, Robert M. Jones, editor, Walls and Ceilings, Time-Life Books, →ISBN, page 93:
      A few woods, such as cedar and redwood, are prized for their rugged naturalness and they age so beautifully that they are generally left unfinished.
  3. (countable, often as plurale tantum) A forested or wooded area.
    Synonyms: woods, forest, woodland; see also Thesaurus:forest
    A wood beyond this moor was viewed as a border area in the seventeenth century.
    He got lost in the woods beyond Seattle.
  4. Firewood.
    We need more wood for the fire.
    • 1913, Joseph C[rosby] Lincoln, chapter VIII, in Mr. Pratt’s Patients, New York, N.Y., London: D[aniel] Appleton and Company, →OCLC:
      We toted in the wood and got the fire going nice and comfortable. Lord James still set in one of the chairs and Applegate had cabbaged the other and was hugging the stove.
    • 2013 July-August, Henry Petroski, “Geothermal Energy”, in American Scientist, volume 101, number 4:
      Energy has seldom been found where we need it when we want it. Ancient nomads, wishing to ward off the evening chill and enjoy a meal around a campfire, had to collect wood and then spend time and effort coaxing the heat of friction out from between sticks to kindle a flame.
  5. (countable, golf) A type of golf club, the head of which was traditionally made of wood.
  6. (music) A woodwind instrument.
  7. (uncountable, slang) An erection of the penis.
    That girl at the strip club gave me wood.
  8. (chess, uncountable, slang) Chess pieces.
    • 1971, Chess Life & Review, volume 26, page 309:
      [] White has nothing but a lot of frozen wood on the board while Black operates on the Q-side.
Usage notes[edit]

In the sense of "a forested area", the singular generally refers to a discrete area of forest, while the plural is often used when a more vaguely defined area is meant.

Derived terms[edit]
Related terms[edit]
  • Sranan Tongo: udu
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


wood (third-person singular simple present woods, present participle wooding, simple past and past participle wooded)

  1. (transitive) To cover or plant with trees.
    • 1542, Sir Richard Devereux, letter, in Bibliotheca Topographica Britannica, London: J. Nichols, published 1792, page 155:
      Their be ii good bellys, a chales, and a few veſtments of litil valure, the ſtuff beſide is not worth xl s. lead ther ys non except in ii gutters the which the p’or hath convey’d in to ye town, but that is ſuar yt is metely wodey’d in hege rowys.
  2. (reflexive, intransitive) To hide behind trees.
    • c. 1586, Sir Ralph Lane, “Lane’s Account of the Englishmen Left in Virginia”, in Henry Sweetser Burrage, editor, Early English and French Voyages: Chiefly from Hakluyt, 1534–1608, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, published 1906, page 246:
      Immediatly, the other boate lying ready with their shot to skoure the place for our hand weapons to lande upon, which was presently done, although the land was very high and steepe, the Savages forthwith quitted the shoare, and betooke themselves to flight: wee landed, and having faire and easily followed for a smal time after them, who had wooded themselves we know not where []
  3. (transitive) To supply with wood, or get supplies of wood for.
    to wood a steamboat or a locomotive
  4. (intransitive) To take or get a supply of wood.
    • c. 1629, Captain John Smith, chapter XXVII, in The True Travels, Adventures, and Observations of Captain John Smith, volume II, London: Awnsham and John Churchill, published 1704, page 409:
      In this little Iſle of Mevis, more than twenty Years ago, I have remained a great time together, to Wood and Water and refreſh my Men []

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English wood, from Old English wōd (mad, insane). See the full etymology at wode.

Alternative forms[edit]


wood (comparative wooder, superlative woodest)

  1. (obsolete) Mad, insane, crazed.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

Back-formation from peckerwood.


wood (plural woods)

  1. (US, sometimes offensive, chiefly prison slang, of a person) A peckerwood.
    • 1991, Mary E. Pelz, James W. Marquart and Terry Pelz, "Right-Wing Extremism in the Texas Prisons: The Rise and Fall of the Aryan Brotherhood of Texas", The Prison Journal, Winter-Fall 1991:
      He further stated that "I can't remember ever seeing a wood [white inmate] assault a nigger without being provoked".
    • 2009, Brendan Joel Kelly, “Pride vs. Power”, in The Phoenix New Times:
      Other than shout-outs to fellow "woods," I found no references on their record to racism, and after getting to know the members, I think Woodpile's message is the opposite of what the L.A. Times construed it to be — they want to bring hardcore white guys to rap music, rather than alienating anyone of any race.
    • 2011, Christian Workman, Black Boxed: Coming of Age Behind Prison Walls:
      The only thing is, even though there are ways to remain neutral, to just be a wood and not get caught up in the white supremacist gang stuff, you do have to take a side if things get bad.

Middle English[edit]


From Old English, more at wood above.



  1. insane; crazy