1. Dead wood, including fallen or standing trees, branches, and stumps.
2. One or more people or things considered as burdensome, superfluous, or serving no useful purpose: Management fired all the deadwood in the department as a cost-saving measure.
3. also dead wood Sports Fallen bowling pins that remain on the alley.
4. Nautical A timber or set of timbers helping to connect the keel of a vessel to the stem or the sternpost.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2022 by HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.