[too-bahy-fawr, -fohr, -buh-]
- two units thick and four units wide, especially in inches.
- Informal. lacking adequate space; cramped: a small, two-by-four room.
- Informal. unimportant; insignificant: Theirs was a petty, two-by-four operation.
- a timber measuring 2 by 4 inches (5 × 10 cm) in cross section, when untrimmed: equivalent to 1 5/8 by 3 5/8 inches (4.5 × 9 cm) when trimmed.
Origin of two-by-four
An Americanism dating back to 1880–85
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for two-by-four
What about the law against the IRS smacking Tea Party-type nonprofits over the head with a two-by-four?PJ’s Political Forecast: Cloudy with a Chance of Meatheads
P. J. O’Rourke
March 14, 2014
At the third jump his hat flew off, disclosing the jagged end of a two-by-four.Chip, of the Flying U
B. M. Bower
I say, Phil, should this two-by-four go in with the big side out, or the narrow?The Winning Touchdown
Thats what comes of blatting things in a two-by-four burg like this.The Bail Jumper
Robert J. C. Stead
There isn't much room for the Triangle in a two-by-four shack.The Prairie Wife
The top is made out of a piece of two-by-four with bevelled mortises cut in two sides of each end as in Fig. 10.The Boy Craftsman
A. Neely Hall
- a length of untrimmed timber with a cross section that measures 2 inches by 4 inches
- a trimmed timber joist with a cross section that measures 1 1/2 inches by 3 1/2 inches