timber sawed or split into planks, boards, etc.
miscellaneous useless articles that are stored away.

verb (used without object)

to cut timber and prepare it for market.
to become useless or to be stored away as useless.

verb (used with object)

Origin of lumber

1545–55; orig. noun use of lumber2; i.e., useless goods that weigh one down, impede one's movements
Related formslum·ber·er, nounlum·ber·less, adjective



verb (used without object)

to move clumsily or heavily, especially from great or ponderous bulk: overloaded wagons lumbering down the dirt road.
to make a rumbling noise.

Origin of lumber

1300–50; Middle English lomeren; compare dialectal Swedish lomra to resound, loma to walk heavily
Related formslum·ber·ly, adjective

Synonyms for lumber Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lumber

Contemporary Examples of lumber

Historical Examples of lumber

  • As for furs and leather and lumber, no other town in the colonies compared with Albany.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • They stood knee-deep in the clutter and lumber, facing each other abjectly.

  • I've bought some cheap ones at the lumber yard, and they're on the way.

  • Mason was a millionaire and a lumber king, but every one called him Ed.

  • So, in spite of Albert's promise, the Calvin lumber was not delivered on time.

    The Portygee

    Joseph Crosby Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for lumber




mainly US and Canadian
  1. logs; sawn timber
  2. cut timber, esp when sawn and dressed ready for use in joinery, carpentry, etc
  3. (as modifier)the lumber trade
  1. useless household articles that are stored away
  2. (as modifier)lumber room


(tr) to pile together in a disorderly manner
(tr) to fill up or encumber with useless household articles
mainly US and Canadian to convert (the trees) of (a forest) into marketable timber
(tr) British informal to burden with something unpleasant, tedious, etc
(tr) Australian to arrest; imprison
Derived Formslumberer, noun

Word Origin for lumber

C17: perhaps from a noun use of lumber ²



verb (intr)

to move awkwardly
an obsolete word for rumble

Word Origin for lumber

C14 lomeren; perhaps related to lome lame 1, Swedish dialect loma to move ponderously
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for lumber

"timber sawn into rough planks," 1660s, American English (Massachusetts), earlier "disused bit of furniture; heavy, useless objects" (1550s), probably from lumber (v.), perhaps influenced by Lombard, from the Italian immigrants famous as pawnbrokers and money-lenders in England (see Lombard). Lumbar, Lumbard were old alternative forms of Lombard in English. The evolution of sense then would be because a lumber-house ("pawn shop") naturally accumulates odds and ends of furniture.

Live Lumber; soldiers or passengers on board a ship are so called by the sailors.

LUMBER HOUSE. A house appropriated by thieves for the reception of their stolen property. ["Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, and Pickpocket Eloquence," London, 1811]

"to move clumsily," c.1300, lomere, probably from a Scandinavian source (cf. dialectal Swedish loma "move slowly, walk heavily," Old Norse lami "lame"), ultimately cognate with lame (adj.). Related: Lumbered; lumbering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper