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See also: Woodman


Henry Herbert La Thangue - “The Woodman,” 1894


wood +‎ -man



woodman (plural woodmen)

  1. (obsolete) Someone who hunts animals in a wood, hunter, huntsman.
    • c. 1609, William Shakespeare, Cymbeline, Act III, Scene 6,[1]
      You, Polydote, have proved best woodman and
      Are master of the feast: Cadwal and I
      Will play the cook and servant; ’tis our match:
      The sweat of industry would dry and die,
      But for the end it works to.
    • c. 1611, John Fletcher, The Woman’s Prize, Act IV, Scene 3, in Comedies and Tragedies Written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher, Gentlemen, London: H. Robinson & H. Moseley, 1647, p. 116,[2]
      How daintily, and cunningly you drive me
      Up like a Deere to’th toyle, yet I may leape it,
      And what’s the woodman then?
    • 1636, Robert Sanderson, Ad Aulam. The Fourth Sermon, Beuvoyr, July, 1636 in XXXVI Sermons, London, 8th edition, 1689, p. 413,[3]
      And to get the Mastery over they self in great matters, it will behove thee to exercise this Discipline first in lesser things: as he that would be a skilful Wood-man, will exercise himself thereunto first by shooting sometimes at a dead mark.
  2. Someone who cuts down trees or cuts and sells wood, lumberjack, woodcutter.
    • 1718, Alexander Pope (translator), The Iliad of Homer, London: Bernard Lintot, Book 16, p. 267,[4]
      As thro’ the shrilling Vale, or Mountain Ground,
      The Labours of the Woodman’s Axe resound;
      Blows following Blows are heard re-echoing wide,
      While crackling Forests fall on ev’ry side.
      Thus echo’d all the Fields with loud Alarms,
      So fell the Warriors, and so rung their Arms.
    • 1843, George Pope Morris, “Woodman, Spare That Tree” in The Deserted Bride; and Other Poems, New York: Appleton, p. 39,[5]
      Woodman, spare that tree!
      Touch not a single bough!
      In youth it shelter’d me,
      And I’ll protect it now.
      ’Twas my forefather’s hand
      That placed it near his cot;
      There, woodman, let it stand,
      Thy axe shall harm it not!
    • 1862, Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Woodman and the Nightingale” (written in 1818 and published posthumously) in Richard Garnett (editor), Relics of Shelley, London: Edward Moxon, p. 79,[6]
      The world is full of woodmen who expel
      Love’s gentle dryads from the haunts of life,
      And vex the nightingales in every dell.
  3. Someone who lives in the wood and manages it; a woodsman; (by extension) someone who spends time in the woods and has a strong familiarity with that environment.
    • 1800, William Wordsworth, “Poems on the Naming of Places V” in Lyrical Ballads, with Other Poems, London: Longman & Rees, Volume 2, p. 195,[7]
      Our walk was far among the ancient trees:
      There was no road, nor any wood-man’s path,
      But the thick umbrage, checking the wild growth
      Of weed and sapling []
    • 1908, Robert Barr, Cardillac, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 4th edition, 1909, Chapter 14,[8]
      “It is strange,” muttered Cardillac, “that so loud a roar in the forest at night should give such little indication of direction. I suppose a true woodman could not only point towards the spot, but might estimate the distance as well. I seem to be a very fool of the forest.”
    • 1990, Pamela Redmond Satran, “Ireland with kids: The fairy tale comes alive,” Washington Post, 15 July, 1990,[9]
      One afternoon, I went with Mrs. Salter-Townshend on a tour of all her rental properties, which ranged from a woodman’s cottage on the old Somerville estate to a tower in the harbor-front castle.
    • 1997, J. M. Coetzee, Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life, New York: Penguin, Chapter Three, p. 15,
      The second examination is for a woodman’s badge. To pass, he is required to light a fire, using no paper and striking no more than three matches.
  4. (obsolete) Someone who lives in the woods and is considered to be uncivilized or barbaric, a savage.
    • 1590, Edmund Spencer, The Faerie Queene, London: William Ponsonbie, Book III, Canto 10, Stanza 40, p. 554[10]
      [] yonder in that faithfull wildernesse
      Huge monsters haunt, and many dangers dwell;
      Dragons, and Minotaures, and feendes of hell,
      And many wilde woodmen, which robbe & rend
      All traveilers []
    • 1909, Maurice Hewlett, “Leto’s Child” in Artemision: Idylls and Songs, London: Elkin Mathews, p. 30,[11]
      There between the trees
      The prying Fauns and Woodmen dark
      And prick-ear’d Satyrs her did mark,
  5. Someone who makes things from wood. (Can we add an example for this sense?)