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forest, jungle, wood, woods

Discussion in 'English Only' started by lb_tulip, Jul 10, 2006.

  1. lb_tulip New Member

    What is the difference between jungle,forest and woods?
  2. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    A jungle is tropical and untrammeled.
    A forest is temperate and little touched by humans.
    Woods are forests that have been worked by humans.

    The Bush is outback Australia.
  3. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Jungle is tropical.
    Forest is big, could be evergreen or deciduous.
    Wood is smaller than forest, almost certainly deciduous.

    A personal view.
  4. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    In the American West "Forest" is an abstract term and a political designation. We have Forest Service land and facilities, forest management and forest fires. We don't talk about "a" forest, but there are huge tracts with that word in the name-- the Lolo National Forest, Kaibab National Forest.

    Forest service maps are sometimes checkerboarded with orange and green squares, to show which sections are National Forest lands and which are Anaconda (or GP) timber holdings.

    We don't go into the forest, we go up in the woods. If someone said "I was out in the forest mushrooming," he would immediately be identified as an outsider.

    I guess Westerners in flatter terrain might use the idiom "out in the woods" instead of "up," which makes sense where I live-- on a valley floor.

    Size is not a factor. Some forest tracts are miniscule.

    By the way, I understand "jungle" is a very specialized term. Most tropical rain forest isn't a "true" jungle-- someone more ambitious than I am really ought to google the issue and come up with the facts.
  5. mgarizona

    mgarizona Senior Member

    Phoenix, AZ
    US - American English
    The basic word here is wood, which refers to a growth of trees. Other similar words are grove and copse if the growth is natural, and plantation if man-made.

    Both forest and jungle were originally more generalized.

    the word forestcomes from the latin word for 'outside,' as in anything outside the enclosures of a community. a wood located outside that enclosure was called a forestem sylvam but it's actually silva that equals "wood"

    jungle gets its association with things tropical from the fact that the imperialist English 'borrowed' the word from Hindi, where its general meaning is 'uncultivated land,' that is, land used neither for dwelling or for agriculture.

    The basic distinction in current English usage is wood, forest = large wood, jungle = dense, impenetrable forest.

    The OED suggests that the association of jungle with a particularly dense and impenetrable forest probably stems from a confusion of 'jungle' with 'tangle.'

    Are you sorry you asked now?
  6. lb_tulip New Member

    Thank you all for responding my question.I got whatever I needed
  7. salander

    salander Senior Member

    Can anybody explain me which is the difference between a wood (said of a fairly big number of trees growing close to each other) and a forest? Can these two terms be used in the same context? Thank you so much
  8. sound shift

    sound shift Senior Member

    Derby (central England)
    English - England
    In British English, this is a matter of size: a forest is bigger than a wood.
  9. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    AE speakers generally don't use "wood," although it's understood through history, literature and British TV.

    Our 30-acre plot of trees is known as a "forest," both legally and practically.
  10. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    In the suburbs of London there are several woods within walking of distance of me, and I might walk through or in them. Out in the country a wood might take you five minutes or a quarter of an hour to walk through, and there could be several woods nearby alternating with fields.
  11. Hermione Golightly

    Hermione Golightly Senior Member

    British English
    I think it may also have something to do with what sort of trees are growing: deciduous trees grow in woods, conifers/evergreens in forests. Beech woods, pine forests. So what is the context ?

  12. Uncle Bob Senior Member

    British English
    Sorry Hermione but, to quote:
    "The term English Lowlands beech forests refers to a terrestrial ecoregion in Northern Europe as defined by the World Wide Fund for Nature and the European Environment Agency" (Wikipedia)
    And I have nothing against pine woods either!
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  13. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Note that the original question asked about "wood," as in "St. John's Wood" or "Strangler's Wood" and not "woods," which we in AE use to apply generally to wooded areas of whatever species of tree.
  14. entangledbank

    entangledbank Senior Member

    English - South-East England
    Perhaps partly because pines grow up north, where more of the country is continuously forested, or in special mass plantations. Rural England is so fragmented that for the most part only woods remain.
  15. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    I have a well-wooded back yard--only 3/4 of an acre--but visitors sitting out on my deck will often say something like this: "My goodness it is a forest out there."

    I think the definition of "forest" has become (or always was) quite flexible. Although I would imagine that Robin hood of Sherwood Forest ranged in a much larger wooded area than my backyard.
  16. JamesM

    JamesM Senior Member

    As sdgraham said, I think we rarely use "wood" in AE but I've always understood it to be a matter of size as well. To me, I think of a forest as an extensive wooded area spanning thousands of acres, as in Sequoia National Forest (4,630 km2) or Los Padres National Forest (7,700 km2) here in California. I was surprised when we went to the forest of Paimplon in France and it appeared to be more of a wood or a collection of groves by my definition.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  17. Packard

    Packard Senior Member

    USA, English
    Colloquially "jungle" has a second meaning, as in:

    "It's a jungle out there..."

    In which case it is making reference to unknown hidden dangers.

    I've never heard, "It's a forest out there...", however.
  18. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    I read all comments. I got the difference between forest and jungle but I didn't understand some comments about the woods.
    One native English in post #2 has said: "Woods are forests that have been worked by humans" = what does it mean by saying worked by humans?:confused:
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  19. Hildy1 Senior Member

    English - US and Canada
    Quote from sdgraham:
    AE speakers generally don't use "wood," although it's understood through history, literature and British TV.

    This is a good point about "wood" in the singular. However, "woods" in the plural is common. You can go for a walk in the woods, get lost in the woods, etc.
  20. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    So "Worked by humans" refers to when people go for a walk yes?
  21. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Not sure where you make the link between work and walk:D
    Under work in the WRF dictionary you can find the sense intended by that post. (However, it does not seem to be a position supported by other posters) :
  22. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    has no connotation of "worked by humans" (that is, used for logging and related activities) for me and I don't think it does for most other native speakers, either. I'd say that generally, the difference is that forests are larger than woods. However, as I discovered when I moved to Indiana from Southern California, there are significant regional differences in usage. In Indiana, while people recognize the word forest and even use it from time to time to designate large stretches of land covered by trees (e.g., the Hoosier National Forest), the word they almost invariably use is woods. In theory, even for a person from Indiana, a forest is large and woods are medium or small, but in practice, Hoosiers (which means "native of Indiana") use woods far more often than forest.

    This is one of those Indiana quirks that I have never completely adjusted to.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  23. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    There is no support for post #2 that made the claim (and unfortunately created the question) about "worked".

    I'd agree on the "forests" are bigger (in area) than "woods". There's also definite overlap and when one is "in the woods" it isn't possible to tell whether one is in a forest or not (because you can't see the forest for the trees:D).
  24. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    Large swathes of southern Indiana are covered by trees - oak, ash, maple, hickory, various firs. But Hoosiers still say woods most of the time. I don't get it, but I think it's one of those things that you have to have been born here to get.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  25. sb70012

    sb70012 Senior Member

    Oh, ok. Thank you both.
  26. Uncle Bob Senior Member

    British English
    There is a rather depressing book by an American (Bill Bryson) entitled "A Walk in the Woods" about the Appalatians, I assume "the woods" there would, scientifically, be termed "montane forest".

    I've always assumed "the woods" means somewhere wild with lots of trees and is less formal and definitive than "forest".
  27. JustKate

    JustKate Moderate Mod

    You know, Bill Bryson is actually from Iowa, and despite the fact that he's spent most of his adult life in the U.K., there's still a lot of Iowa in the guy. I wonder if this peculiarity of referring to really extensive forests as woods is a Midwestern thing?
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  28. Myridon

    Myridon Senior Member

    English - US
    I don't think we should take the title literally. He actually takes different long hikes in several different places. He set out to "walk" the Appalachian Trail (about 3500km). It's not about what anyone would really call "a walk" nor a single "the woods."
  29. PaulQ

    PaulQ Senior Member

    English - England
    No. I am cannot see that #2 is correct. (You will note that the poster is no longer with us...)

    1. In order of size, there is a copse, a wood and then a forest. There is also the difference between woods and forests that are natural or "plantations". A plantation (in relation to trees) is a wood or forest that has been planted by humans for commercial purposes.

    2. Bearing in mind that I do not agree with the following: "Woods are forests that have been worked by humans" = "Woods are forests that are used and/or planted by humans for commercial purposes and in which humans will work. e.g. timber business, coppicing, hunting, etc."
  30. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    I'll add my vote that this is utter nonsense.

    We are a state with huge expanse of forest. Nearly all of it has been cut at one time or another. That's how Portland, Ore. gained the nickname of "Stumptown," i.e. the old-growth timber was cut in the early 19th Century.

    Today, the city's 5,000-acre Forest Park is a rich second-growth forest. If that's not "worked by humans," I don't know what is.

    It's a forest. We don't call it "woods."

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