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deadwood

[ded-woo d] /ˈdɛdˌwʊd/
noun
1.
the dead branches on a tree; dead branches or trees.
2.
useless or burdensome persons or things:
He cut the deadwood from his staff.
3.
(in writing) unnecessary words, phrases, or exposition; expendable verbiage.
4.
Nautical. a solid construction, serving only as reinforcement, located between the keel of a vessel and the stem or sternpost.
5.
Bowling. pins remaining on the alley after having been knocked down by the ball.
6.
Cards.
  1. Rummy. cards in a hand that have not been included in sets and are usually counted as points against the holder.
  2. Poker. cards that have been discarded.
Origin
1720-1730
1720-30; dead + wood1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for dead wood

deadwood

/ˈdɛdˌwʊd/
noun
1.
dead trees or branches
2.
(informal) a useless person; encumbrance
3.
(nautical) a filler piece between the keel and the stern of a wooden vessel
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dead wood

deadwood

n.

1887 in figurative sense of "useless person or thing," originally American English, from dead (adj.) + wood (n.). Dead wood in a forest is useful as firewood; perhaps the reference here is to the dried up parts of plants grown for commercial production of flowers or fruit.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for dead wood

deadwood

noun
  1. Unproductive persons; lazy and useless staff
  2. Anything useless, esp something useless that must be kept

[1887+; fr the fact that dead or rotten wood does not produce much heat when burned]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for dead wood

Deadwood

city, seat (1877) of Lawrence county, western South Dakota, U.S. Located just northeast of Lead and about 40 miles (65 km) northwest of Rapid City, Deadwood lies in a canyon formed by Whitewood Creek in the northern Black Hills, more than 4,530 feet (1,380 metres) above sea level. Built at the base of the steep wooded inclines of Deadwood Gulch and extending up the hillsides, it was named for the dead trees found in the canyon.

Learn more about Deadwood with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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6
6
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