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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English wode, from Old English wudu, widu (wood, forest, grove; tree; timber), from Proto-Germanic *widuz (wood), from Proto-Indo-European *widʰu-. Cognate with Old Dutch widu (Dutch wede), Old High German witu, Old Norse viðr (Danish and Swedish ved). Unrelated to Dutch woud (forest), German Wald.



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.
    • John Milton
      to worship their own work in wood and stone for gods
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, “Foreword”, in The China Governess[1]:
      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.
  3. (countable) A forested or wooded area.
    He got lost in the woods beyond Seattle.
    • William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Macbeth
      Macbeth shall never vanquish'd be until / Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill / Shall come against him.
  4. Firewood.
    We need more wood for the fire.
    • 1913, Joseph C. Lincoln, chapter 8, in Mr. Pratt's Patients:
      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]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. 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.
  2. (transitive) To supply with wood, or get supplies of wood for.
    to wood a steamboat or a locomotive
  3. To take or get a supply of wood.

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", 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]


Old English, more at wood above.



  1. insane; crazy