the hard, compact wood or timber of various trees, as the oak, cherry, maple, or mahogany.
a tree yielding such wood.
made or constructed of hardwood: a hardwood floor.

1560–70; hard + wood1

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World English Dictionary
hardwood (ˈhɑːdˌwʊd)
1.  the wood of any of numerous broad-leaved dicotyledonous trees, such as oak, beech, ash, etc, as distinguished from the wood of a conifer
2.  any tree from which this wood is obtained

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

1568, from hard + wood. From deciduous trees, distinguished from that of pines and firs.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
hardwood   (härd'wd')  Pronunciation Key 
  1. An angiosperm tree, especially as distinguished from a coniferous, or softwood, tree.

  2. The wood of an angiosperm tree. Hardwoods are in general harder than softwood. However, some hardwoods, such as basswood, are comparatively soft, while some softwoods, such as yew, are comparatively hard.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The forest surrounding the house is a tropical hardwood hammock-the last of its
  kind in the area.
Tropical hardwood forests host rare and endangered birds and butterflies.
We put hardwood floors in the upstairs of our house.
As an attractive and sturdy alternative to hardwood flooring, bamboo is tough
  to beat.
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