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From Middle English woodewerk (carpentry), equivalent to wood +‎ work.


woodwork (usually uncountable, plural woodworks)

  1. (uncountable, countable) Something made from wood, especially cabinets and trim (e.g., baseboards, doorframes) made from millwork.
    Hyponym: cabinetwork
    • 2008 September 14, Bill Cunniff, “A stroll through OLD IRVING PARK”, in The Chicago Sun-Times:
      Some woodwork and the plaster ceiling medallions have been duplicated to match the originals.
  2. (uncountable) Working with wood.
    Synonym: woodworking
    He does woodwork as a hobby.
    • 1906, Tasmania. Education Dept, The educational record, volumes 1-6, page 14:
      The unthinking man assumes that if woodwork is to be taught, the best person to do it must be a carpenter
  3. (only in plural, often in proper names) A workshop or factory devoted to making wood products.
    • 1911, North Carolina Dept. of Conservation and Development, Economic papers, numbers 23-28, page 7:
      The woodworks now find utilization for almost every scrap. Pine stumps are changing into turpentine bottles.
  4. (figurative, by extension) A place of concealment or obscurity.
    out of the woodwork
    Friends and relatives were coming out of the woodwork to celebrate his good fortune.
    So when he wants to, he can just kind of blend into the woodwork.
  5. (soccer, rugby) The frame of the goal, i.e. the goalpost or crossbar.
    That goal was so close, it went in off the woodwork.
    • 2012 May 5, Phil McNulty, “Chelsea 2-1 Liverpool”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Carroll thought he had equalised with his header against the bar with eight minutes left. Liverpool claimed the ball had cross the line and Chelsea were grateful for a miraculous intervention from Cech to turn his effort on to the woodwork.

Derived terms[edit]



woodwork (third-person singular simple present woodworks, present participle woodworking, simple past and past participle woodworked)

  1. (LGBT, dated) To go completely stealth as a transgender person. (From the idea of fading or blending into the woodwork.)
    • 1997, Patrick Califia, Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism:
      "Instead of 'woodworking,' or disappearing into the mainstream — as we are capable of and qualified to do — we have chosen not to do so." Outside of the transsexual community, other changes were taking place that made it possible for []
    • 2001 November, Out, page 80:
      Maybe — and this was essential for political activism — you didn't have to "woodwork" but could be transgendered for all to see. By the mid '90s the Internet had arrived — and spread these new ideas like wildfire. []

See also[edit]