Definition of two-by-four in US English:



  • 1A piece of lumber with a rectangular cross section nominally two inches by four inches.

    • ‘We made everything out of thick plywood, two-by-fours and four-by-fours.’
    • ‘Level the top edge of the pond by using a carpenter's level on a straight two-by-four placed across the pond.’
    • ‘Using plywood and two-by-fours, the soldiers built in a channeled floor for laying cable, wooden walls and added a 66K Btu air conditioner to keep the room cool.’
    • ‘It wasn't a two-by-four, it was a four-by-four piece of pressure treated lumber.’
    • ‘The next step was to build a 16-foot easel with two-by-fours and plywood, which he set up in his studio.’
    • ‘At eleven o'clock on Sunday morning at Home Depot or Lowe's the lines of folks with cans of paint, two-by-fours, and joint cement stretch almost as far as they do on a Saturday morning.’
    • ‘Measure the width of the front dropout, and cut a length of two-by-four to the same width.’
    • ‘The children played musical chairs in the living room, miniature golf in the back yard, and rode wagons made with skates, two-by-fours, and apple boxes.’
    • ‘They picked out an odd assortment of two-by-fours and pieces of plywood and loaded it into my pickup truck.’
    • ‘Locally purchased plywood, two-by-fours, and concrete blocks can also be used as targets.’
    • ‘In the final hour of motorcycle training, students are assigned tougher maneuvers, including taking their bikes over obstacles such as two-by-fours.’
    • ‘Gavin is in the basement sawing away at his two-by-fours and a load of stolen plywood, so I answer it.’
    • ‘But the transmission problem had resurfaced, and the couple had to place two-by-fours under the wheels to keep the truck from rolling across the motel parking lot.’
    • ‘The set is a jungle gym, representative of all that is good on the recess playground; yet it is built in a shoddy fashion, with screws protruding dangerously and with two-by-fours not lined up properly.’
    • ‘On the right side of the carpet opposite the turquoise walls, three massive blocks of unevenly cut Styrofoam were supported by spindly two-by-fours and a single turned wooden leg.’
    • ‘Raised on two-by-fours laid on their sides, the room's plasterboard floor floated above the gallery's to create a fragile platform that could not be walked upon.’
    • ‘Lower prices caused by weak demand have compounded the problem; the export price of 1,000 board-feet of two-by-fours fell to $288 in December from around $400 a year earlier.’
    • ‘The piece consisted of a horizontal 33-foot-long plywood shaft held at eye level on two-by-fours.’
    • ‘The story begins with the Wright brothers, ‘inventors’ of flight, who successfully threw a series of intricately connected two-by-fours off a ledge high enough so that they did not land for a full 12 seconds.’
    • ‘Seventy-five percent of British Columbia's cut comes from the east side of the Coast Mountains, much of it from the Chilcotin, and 90 percent of that goes to the United States, half as wood chips for paper, half as two-by-fours.’
    1. 1.1West Indian, US usually as modifier A small or insignificant thing, typically a building.
      ‘they lived in a two-by-four shack of one bedroom’
      • ‘I spend my entire life in this two-by-four shack taking care of those two kids and then you come home from work and what do you do?’