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[tim-ber] /ˈtɪm bər/
the wood of growing trees suitable for structural uses.
growing trees themselves.
wooded land.
wood, especially when suitable or adapted for various building purposes.
a single piece of wood forming part of a structure or the like:
A timber fell from the roof.
Nautical. (in a ship's frame) one of the curved pieces of wood that spring upward and outward from the keel; rib.
personal character or quality:
He's being talked up as presidential timber.
Sports. a wooden hurdle, as a gate or fence, over which a horse must jump in equestrian sports.
verb (used with object)
to furnish with timber.
to support with timber.
verb (used without object)
to fell timber, especially as an occupation.
a lumberjack's call to warn those in the vicinity that a cut tree is about to fall to the ground.
Origin of timber
before 900; Middle English, Old English: orig., house, building material; cognate with German Zimmer room, Old Norse timbr timber; akin to Gothic timrjan, Greek démein to build. See dome
Related forms
timberless, adjective
timbery, adjective
Can be confused
timber, timbre. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for timber
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • We have seen that there are “timber prairies” and “flower-prairies.”

    The Boy Hunters Captain Mayne Reid
  • Me and Lawyer Fillmore has been a-lookin' into them deeds, and this timber is mine;' and he driv off.

    The Underdog F. Hopkinson Smith
  • We could see a line of timber just ahead of her, and that Jim was riding for his life.

    Robbery Under Arms Thomas Alexander Browne, AKA Rolf Boldrewood
  • She always seemed natural to me; and I had got to know every timber and stick about her.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • The intruder took his gun and accoutrements and without a word walked away up the mountain through the timber land.

    Camp Venture George Cary Eggleston
British Dictionary definitions for timber


  1. wood, esp when regarded as a construction material Usual US and Canadian word lumber
  2. (as modifier): a timber cottage
  1. trees collectively
  2. (mainly US) woodland
a piece of wood used in a structure
(nautical) a frame in a wooden vessel
potential material, for a post, rank, etc: he is managerial timber
(transitive) to provide with timbers
a lumberjack's shouted warning when a tree is about to fall
Word Origin
Old English; related to Old High German zimbar wood, Old Norse timbr timber, Latin domus house
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 timber

Old English timber "building, structure," later "building material, trees suitable for building," and "wood in general," from Proto-Germanic *temran (cf. Old Frisian timber "wood, building," Old High German zimbar "timber, wooden dwelling, room," Old Norse timbr "timber," German Zimmer "room"), from PIE *demrom-, from root *dem-/*dom- "build" (source of Greek domos, Latin domus; see domestic (adj.)).

The related Old English verb timbran, timbrian was the chief word for "to build" (cf. Dutch timmeren, German zimmern). As a call of warning when a cut tree is about to fall, it is attested from 1912 in Canadian English. Timbers in the nautical slang sense (see shiver (n.)) is from the specialized meaning "pieces of wood composing the frames of a ship's hull" (1748).

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



An exclamation of triumph, achievement, etc

Related Terms

the tall timbers

[1912+; fr the cry of loggers as a tree begins to fall]

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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