Definition of timber in US English:



  • 1Wood prepared for use in building and carpentry.

    ‘the exploitation of forests for timber’
    as modifier ‘a small timber building’
    • ‘At the rear of the stone building was a small timber extension with a range of further accommodation.’
    • ‘For the author, the craft of building in timber is not so much carpentry as wizardry.’
    • ‘Savannah has clearly invested in the corporate look as the furniture and surroundings are streamlined with natural materials: timber, stone, glass and leather.’
    • ‘Malaysia is also a major producer of timber and timber products including hardwoods.’
    • ‘Building with timber results in lower greenhouse emissions and less air and water pollution, while it also produces less solid waste by-products.’
    • ‘He hadn't seen that kind of quality timber for sale in all his twenty-seven years.’
    • ‘One of the problems he faces is access to prepared timber.’
    • ‘An abundance of coppice woods, known as spring woods, were required to provide charcoal, tan bark, fuel wood and timber.’
    • ‘On July 2 in that year, a fire swept through the village, destroying dozens of the thatched and timber buildings.’
    • ‘A man gifted with his hands, he was content and at ease building walls and making timber panels.’
    • ‘The timber buildings suffered from woodworm and supplied an ideal location for woodlice, spiders and wasps.’
    • ‘The kitchen beyond is painted blue with red floor tiling and a good range of whitewashed timber units at ground and eye-level.’
    • ‘Its product, wood, is of primary importance to humans as timber for construction, fuelwoods, and wood-pulp for paper manufacturing.’
    • ‘This comprises the aforementioned sauna as well as an attic room with timber floor, wood panelled walls and a Velux window.’
    • ‘Having spent four years restoring the cottage, it is now home, from where Richard works as a woodworker making timber buildings and follies.’
    • ‘The rainforest is being cleared legally and illegally for timber, for pulp wood to make paper, and to make way for oil palm plantations.’
    • ‘The next stage will involve building 340 timber lodges.’
    • ‘The project was a three-year labour of love, in which they raised $60,000 to replace the old timber building.’
    • ‘They cleared some of the natural broadleaf woodland to make way for sheep pastures; they also coppiced or managed other parts of the woodland for timber and firewood.’
    • ‘Traditional timber buildings, craft demonstrations, street entertainers and a replica ship will create an authentic period atmosphere.’
    wood, logs, firewood
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Trees grown for timber.
      ‘contracts to cut timber’
      • ‘The branch-cutting of oaks that was common everywhere meant that good timber was ruined.’
      • ‘In some places, great swathes of hillside have been cut away in the urgency to log timber.’
      • ‘When Shoaf started out, he loved the woods, the Forest Service, and cutting timber.’
      • ‘Sixty years later he was amazed that more timber was being cut than during the bonanza era of lumbering.’
      • ‘That's because until seedlings reach green-up, regulations keep adjacent cut blocks of marketable timber off limits to loggers.’
      • ‘Their most reliable income comes from cutting timber.’
      • ‘The ring was even seeking Carey Act segregations on land where timber grew.’
      • ‘They longed for jobs picking fruit, cutting timber or doing construction - anything besides hanging poultry.’
      • ‘We can grow twice as much timber on our land if the markets tell us to do so.’
      • ‘Many landowners cut their best remaining timber to supplement their income and feed their families.’
      • ‘Trees take 80 years to mature and timber is cut every five years, giving a big income boost in that year.’
      • ‘For example, unexpected medical bills may make it necessary for a landowner to harvest and sell timber that would otherwise have been allowed to grow longer.’
      • ‘Coffee can be grown along with high-value timber, for example, or with tropical fruits that could be sold as concentrates or jams.’
      • ‘Beech is a very easy timber to grow on a rotational basis.’
      • ‘But, locally there is plenty of fell land on which we could grow bio-fuel timber, and it might make a change from looking at endless conifers.’
      • ‘The cooperative has formed forest protection teams that have helped in the confiscation of illegally cut timber.’
      • ‘The large quantities of timber grown in inland Aberdeenshire were floated down river to ports for shipment.’
      • ‘Much of the timber had been cut for income and the few cows that were there were left to Rose Lane's brother, Alton.’
      • ‘Today, top grade oak timber is increasingly hard to find, with borer-perforated trees more suitable for paper or pulpwood.’
      • ‘Since only oak met the high requirements of strength and durability, oak timber became a strategic raw material.’
    2. 1.2usually timbers A wooden beam or board used in building a house, ship, or other structure.
      • ‘There was other, direct, evidence of dry rot in the timbers of the building.’
      • ‘There were also the remains of ship's timbers, nails and other metalwork.’
      • ‘Repairs to the plasterwork, timbers, roof and pillars were carried out and the structure was also lime washed.’
      • ‘The stairways and the timbers used have had few equals in the present day.’
      • ‘Burnt roof timbers beneath the collapsed tiles show it was destroyed in a fire.’
      • ‘The house or building is reinforced with timbers supporting the floors inside.’
      • ‘The walls have wooden panelling, the timbers of the roof are exposed and the views over Glasgow are panoramic.’
      • ‘Although much of the decking is rotten, the structural timbers are intact giving some parts of the wreck a skeleton appearance.’
      • ‘Cedar, fir, and pine were the preferred ship timbers of the ancient Mediterranean.’
      • ‘The result is a charming house full of exposed brick walls and old timbers.’
      • ‘Mr Ward said the droppings had blocked the gutters and downpipes on the building, causing water to seep into the roof timbers.’
      • ‘Most of the timbers from the ship have now been lifted and are currently being conserved in wet tanks at a disused steelworks nearby.’
      • ‘This is the wreck of a very old wooden sailing vessel complete with huge oak timbers, row upon row of copper nails and who knows what else.’
      • ‘The interior features are what make the building so special, with intact original Tudor ironwork and timbers.’
      • ‘The wreck is wooden, with the timbers laid in a double-diamond pattern.’
      • ‘This room also features a Georgian fireplace with cast iron inset and exposed black floor timbers.’
      • ‘The quality of the ship timbers produced by the Samoans did not escape notice.’
      • ‘The other comes from the echo that resounds through the timbers and floor-boards.’
      • ‘The low, irregular ceiling is crisscrossed with beams made from ships' timbers and a log fire crackles merrily in the hearth.’
      • ‘Masses of vines spiraled upward against the vertical timbers and covered the thatched roof.’
      beam, wooden beam, spar, pole, plank, batten, lath, board, joist, rafter
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3as exclamation Used to warn that a tree is about to fall after being cut.
      ‘we cried “Timber!” as our tree fell’
    4. 1.4US informal usually with adjective Personal qualities or character, especially as seen as suitable for a particular role.
      ‘she is frequently hailed as presidential timber’
      • ‘What is the real meaning of presidential timber?’
      • ‘I definitely think he is presidential timber.’
      • ‘For the first 40 years of his life, Bush was never considered presidential timber.’
      • ‘A woman just will not be accepted as presidential timber in the current macho-male-dominated political environment.’


Old English in the sense ‘a building’, also ‘building material’, of Germanic origin; related to German Zimmer ‘room’, from an Indo-European root meaning ‘build’.