wooden


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wooden mare

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.
See also: mare, wooden

wooden spoonist

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

wooden top

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!
See also: top, wooden

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!
See also: any, nickel, take, wooden

the wooden spoon

The imaginary 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!
See also: spoon, wooden

get the wooden spoon

To finish a contest or competition in last place. (The "wooden spoon" is 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!
See also: get, spoon, wooden

win the wooden spoon

To finish a contest or competition in last place. (The "wooden spoon" is 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 win the wooden spoon!
See also: spoon, win, wooden

take the wooden spoon

To finish a contest or competition in last place. (The "wooden spoon" is 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 take the wooden spoon!
See also: spoon, take, wooden

a wooden nickel

A person or thing that only vaguely appears to have any real value, but is ultimately worthless. A nickel is worth five cents, thus already being worth very little. Primarily heard in US. This whole accreditation scheme has as much value as a wooden nickel when it does nothing to get you more work in the field.
See also: nickel, wooden

a wooden nutmeg

dated A fraudulent substitute or imitation. Primarily heard in US. Anyone selling you designer goods at such low prices is definitely peddling wooden nutmegs. The major tax overhaul congress has been promising is nothing more than a wooden nutmeg—it will benefit no one but a few at the very top, and for everyone else it will remain a convoluted and expensive mess.
See also: wooden

accept a wooden nickel

To accept something that proves to be fraudulent or deceitful; to be swindled or conned. Primarily heard in US. I'm done accepting wooden nickels—capricious women who say they love me, then get bored and decide I'm not worth their time. My husband is a wonderful man, but he has about as much business sense as a grade-schooler. If I had let him accept all the wooden nickels offered flaky customers have tried to peddle on us, we'd have gone bankrupt years ago.
See also: accept, nickel, wooden

a wooden nickel

AMERICAN
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.
See also: nickel, wooden

the wooden spoon

BRITISH
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.
See also: spoon, wooden

accept a wooden nickel

be fooled or swindled. US
A wooden nickel is a worthless or counterfeit coin.
See also: accept, nickel, wooden

a wooden nutmeg

a 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 spoon

be 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).
See also: spoon, win, wooden

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.
See also: any, nickel, take, wooden

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.
See also: spoon, wooden

don't take any wooden nickels

Protect yourself (against fraud, loss, and so on). This warning against counterfeit coins dates from about 1900 and is distinctly American in origin, the nickel being a U.S. or Canadian five-cent coin. Why a wooden coin was selected is not known. Presumably making coins of wood would always have been more expensive than the intrinsic value of metal coins. Several writers suggest it replaced don’t take any wooden nutmegs, a now obsolete saying dating from colonial times when sharp traders sold wooden nutmegs mixed in with the real spice. In print the expression is found in Ring Lardner’s story, The Real Dope (1919), “In the mean wile—until we meet again—don’t take no wood nickles [sic] and don’t get impatient and be a good girlie.”
See also: any, nickel, take, wooden

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.
See also: any, nickel, take, wooden
References in classic literature ?
went his iron-shod hoofs against the wooden bodies of the Gargoyles, and they were battered right and left with such force that they scattered like straws in the wind.
"Those wooden things are impossible to hurt," he said, "and all the damage Jim has done to them is to knock a few splinters from their noses and ears.
"We have time, just now, and I'd rather face the invis'ble bears than those wooden imps."
"This is strange," cried Copley, looking him in the face, which now, as the painter fancied, had a singular depth of intelligence, though hitherto it had not given him greatly the advantage over his own family of wooden images.
It was a beautiful, though not precisely regular and somewhat haughty aspect, but with a certain piquancy about the eyes and mouth, which, of all expressions, would have seemed the most impossible to throw over a wooden countenance.
The wooden Wegg looked at him with a meditative eye, and also with a softened air as descrying possibility of profit.
I thought to myself, "Here's a man with a wooden leg--a literary man with--"'
'- Will have a thing done, I will have it done,' repeated the man with the wooden leg.
Has that fellow' - to the man with the wooden leg -'been here again?'
And, after all, it is no more dangerous to face those reckless girls than to ride this fiery, untamed wooden horse!"
Presently they came to the banks of a wide river, and without a pause the wooden steed gave one final leap and launched them all in mid-air.
The red colors above faded away as the sun vanished, but a million stars were lighted, a million lamps shone; and the King's Son spread out his arms towards heaven, and wood, and sea; when at the same moment, coming by a path to the right, appeared, in his wooden shoes and jacket, the poor boy who had been confirmed with him.
We visited the two long, covered wooden bridges which span the green and brilliant Reuss just below where it goes plunging and hurrahing out of the lake.
While my grandmother was busy about supper, I settled myself on the wooden bench behind the stove and got acquainted with the cat-- he caught not only rats and mice, but gophers, I was told.
I had been told that ours was the only wooden house west of Black Hawk--until you came to the Norwegian settlement, where there were several.