General English


  • noun trees which have been or are to be cut down and made into logs


  • Uncut trees or logs suitable for cutting into lumber.
  • Wood sawn into balks and planks, suitable for use in carpentry or construction.
  • square-sawn lumber having a minimum nominal dimension of 5" in U.S., or approximately equal cross dimension greater than 4" x 4-1/2" or 10 cm x 11 cm in Britain.
  • Any heavy wood beam used for shoring or bracing.


  • noun one of the stumps that make up a batsman’s wicket, or the wicket as a whole
    Citation ‘Before either were out 50 runs were got. Caffyn’s timber was lowered by Mr. Fisher’ (Lillywhite 1860)

Real Estate

  • noun wood that has been sawn into boards, planks or other materials for use in building, woodworking or cabinetmaking
  • noun a large piece of wood, usually squared, used in a building, e.g. as a beam

Origin & History of “timber”

Timber originally denoted a ‘building’ – the Lindisfarne Gospels of around 950 translated mark 13:1 (‘See what manner of stones and what buildings are here’) as ‘See what stones and what timber’. It comes from a prehistoric Germanic *timram, whose German descendant zimmer ‘room’ has remained closer to its semantic roots (but German zimmermann means ‘carpenter’). And this in turn went back to Indo-European *demrom, a derivative of the base *dem-, *dom- ‘build’, from which English also gets dome, domestic, etc. The sense ‘building’ gradually developed into ‘building material’, then ‘wood used for building’, and finally ‘wood’ in general.