“Wood” (madera) you will know, and perhaps “wooden” (de madera) too, that is, the adjective meaning made of wood.

Wooden also has some other uses. A person may have a “wooden look” or “wooden expression” (inexpresivo). An actor´s performance can be wooden (acartonado), stiff (rígido) and not graceful (tieso). Here are some examples:

  • Mr. Corbyn kept a wooden face while asking Mrs. May a question.
  • The new James Bond actor is wooden.

If you lose a competition or a race you could be given a “wooden spoon”. A wooden spoon literally is “una cuchara de palo”. However, the loser is given a wooden spoon. In Spanish that could be a “premio de consolación” or “”el farolillo rojo”. An example:

  • We have to work much harder if we do not want to be given the wooden spoon in the competition (tenemos que esforzamos mucho más si no queremos terminar siendo el farolillo rojo en el concurso).

Sometimes people are “wooden-headed” (cabeza hueca) or idiotic, and some people react in a woodenly way (de manera de poco expresiva).

So when you lose your next chess competition, you may have a wooden look, and react in a woodenly way when you are given the wooden spoon!


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