Definition of matchwood in US English:



  • 1Very small pieces or splinters of wood.

    ‘their boat was shattered into matchwood against the rocks’
    • ‘A strangled scream escaped my throat as the great white shark ripped the protective cage to pieces, as if it was made of matchwood…’
    • ‘In 1908, an asteroid or comet about 60 metres long exploded over Siberia with the force of 600 times the Hiroshima bomb, reducing a 40-km wide patch of forest to matchwood.’
    • ‘With a curt nod, Mike ordered the others to get her ready, picked up a heavy chair as though it were matchwood, and used it to smash out one of the larger panes of glass.’
    • ‘In the interview, Bill told of being on the ferry when the torpedo from the midget submarine turned it to matchwood and took 21 lives.’
    • ‘Many mobile homes were reduced to piles of matchwood and twisted aluminium.’
    • ‘He signed for his new home at 11 am on Christmas Eve, which by dawn on Christmas day was matchwood.’
    • ‘Show us how easily this Universe can make matchwood of our dreams!’
    • ‘They had built a breakwater so ineffectual that any boat taking overnight shelter behind it was likely to be smashed to matchwood on the rocks.’
    • ‘One hundred beach bungalows were smashed to matchwood as the gales caused £50,000 of damage.’
    • ‘They have been living there up until October 12th and once they moved out the earth-moving machines made matchwood of it pronto.’
    • ‘In the harbour the winds tore the boats from their moorings and sent them waltzing out onto the open waves, where they were flung higher than the kirk steeple, only to be toppled down again and smashed to matchwood on the skerries.’
    • ‘But when, on 17 December, Captain Bonaparte's gunners drove the British and Spanish troops from the key forts on those heights, Admiral Hood saw that he must evacuate the port immediately or have his fleet shot to matchwood.’
    • ‘In May, a long period of heavy rain caused the Silie River, usually an inconspicuous trickle of water, to change into a roaring, ten-foot-tall tidal wave that one night swept ramshackle wooden shacks away like matchwood.’
    • ‘When I attain power, his wailing guitar will be reduced to matchwood, and put on the fire, thus returning it from whence it came.’
    • ‘He did, however, blow his bottom off and reduce the kitchen to splintered matchwood.’
    • ‘Still, those occasions when it all fell into place can still blow your loudspeakers to matchwood.’
    • ‘Boats were pounded to matchwood on the savage, foam-lashed rocks below.’
    • ‘The full force of the waves hit us, rocking our little boat like a piece of matchwood.’
    • ‘Seismic shifts under the sea bed created a massive wall of water which instantly turned coastal communities into so much matchwood.’
    • ‘It thrashed through the shops, turning them into matchwood and bits of toys and upturned fridges.’
    sliver, shiver, chip, shard, needle
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Light wood suitable for making matches.