from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Dead wood, including fallen or standing trees, branches, and stumps.
  • noun One that is burdensome or superfluous.
  • noun Sports Fallen bowling pins that remain on the alley.
  • noun Nautical The vertical planking between the keel of a vessel and the sternpost, serving as a reinforcement.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Naut.) A mass of timbers built into the bow and stern of a vessel to give solidity.
  • noun Dead trees or branches; useless material.
  • noun People who are unproductive; -- used especially in reference to employees.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun coarse woody debris
  • noun people judged to be superfluous to an organization or project
  • noun money not realized by exiting a winning pump trade too early

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a branch or a part of a tree that is dead
  • noun someone or something that is unwanted and unneeded


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word deadwood.



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Oh the Deadwood Stage is a-rollin' on over the plains

    With the curtains flappin' and the driver slappin' the reins

    A beautiful sky, a wonderful day

    Whip crack-away, whip crack-away, whip crack-away

    Oh the Deadwood Stage is a-headin' on over the hills

    Where the Injun arrows are thicker than porcupine quills

    Dangerous land, no time to delay

    So whip crack-away, whip crack-away, whip crack-away

    We're headin' straight for town, loaded down

    With a fancy cargo, care of Wells and Fargo, Illinois - Boy!

    Oh the Deadwood Stage is a-comin' on over the crest

    Like a homin' pigeon that's a-hankerin' after its nest

    Twenty-three miles we've covered today

    So whip crack-away, whip crack-away, whip crack-away

    The wheels go turnin' round, homeward bound

    Can't you hear 'em hummin'

    Happy times are comin' for to stay - hey!

    We'll be home tonight by the light of the silvery moon

    And my heart's a-thumpin' like a mandolin a-plunkin' a tune

    When I get home, I'm fixin' to stay

    So whip crack-away, whip crack-away, whip crack-away

    Whip crack-away, whip crack-away, whip crack-away...

    Introducin' Henry Miller, just as busy as a fizzy sarsparilla

    Ain't a showman and he's smarter, operates the Golden Garter

    Where the cream of Deadwood City come to dine

    And I'm glad to say he's a very good friend of mine

    Hi Joe, say where d'you get them fancy clothes

    I know, off some fella's laundry line

    Hi Beau, aren't you the Prairie Rose

    Smellin' like a watermelon vine

    Here's the man the Sheriff watches

    On his gun there's more than twenty-seven notches

    On the draw there's no-one faster and you're flirtin' with disaster

    When Bill Hickok's reputation you malign

    and I'm glad to say he's a very good friend of mine.

    September 14, 2009