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An ancient torture device involving a wooden horse, typically used for military punishments. I was so terrified of what my parents would do when they found out I'd failed my exam that I had visions of them making me ride the wooden mare.
slang The person or team that finishes last in a competition. So-named because the imaginary prize for a last-place finish is a wooden spoon. Primarily heard in UK. Of course Roy was the wooden-spoonist in today's race—I didn't know a person could run so slow!
See also: wooden
A beet-shaped wooden toy that spins on a metal point at the bottom. What are you kids complaining about? When I was your age, I only had a wooden top to play with!
don't take any wooden nickels
Take care and, specifically, try not to get swindled. The phrase is thought to have originated in the early 20th century when country residents visiting the city were considered easily duped. Primarily heard in US. Have fun tonight and don't take any wooden nickels!
the wooden spoon
The hypothetical prize for the person finishing in last place in a competition. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. I don't expect to win, but I sure hope I don't get the wooden spoon!
a wooden nickelAMERICAN
If you call something a wooden nickel, you mean that it is completely false or has no value. Note: A nickel is a five cent coin and a dime is a ten cent coin. He looked at the card as though it were a wooden nickel. `That doesn't prove a thing,' he said.
the wooden spoonBRITISH
COMMON If you say that someone gets the wooden spoon, you mean that they are the last in a race or competition or are the worst at a particular activity. Cosmos will almost certainly get the wooden-spoon for the second year in a row if they lose. Britain's bureaucrats won the EU's wooden spoon yesterday, as the worst linguists in Brussels. Note: You can use wooden spoon before a noun. After their third defeat, the Hawks have confirmed their place as wooden spoon contenders this season. Note: At one time, the student who got the lowest marks in their final mathematics exam at Cambridge University was given a wooden spoon.
accept a wooden nickelbe fooled or swindled. US
A wooden nickel is a worthless or counterfeit coin.
a wooden nutmega false or fraudulent thing. US
A wooden nutmeg was a piece of wood shaped to resemble a nutmeg and fraudulently sold as the real thing. This deception was particularly associated with the inhabitants of Connecticut, giving rise to the nickname ‘the Nutmeg State’.
See also: wooden
win the wooden spoonbe the least successful contestant; win the booby prize.
A wooden spoon was originally presented to the candidate coming last in the Cambridge University mathematical tripos (the final honours examination for a BA degree).
don’t take any wooden ˈnickels(American English) used when saying goodbye to somebody to mean ‘be careful’, ‘take care of yourself’: Well, see you around Tom. Don’t take any wooden nickels.
get, win, take, etc. the ˌwooden ˈspoon(British English, informal) come last in a race or competition: England must win this match if they are to avoid taking the wooden spoon.It was a custom at the University of Cambridge to give a wooden spoon to the student of mathematics who had the lowest mark/grade for their year.
Don't take any wooden nickels
Don't let yourself be cheated. This expression was first heard in the early 20th century. Although there never were any wooden nickels as legal tender, country folk going to a city were likely to be cheated by all manner of ruses, including obviously counterfeit coins. Wooden nickels did exist, however, as bank promotions during and after the Great Depression; the “coins” were redeemable for prizes.