Definition and background:
Those instruments that are made of wood and sounded by means of air. The clarinet and oboe families fall into this category, as do the saxophone and the flute families. Although the saxophone is made of brass, it is derived from the wooden clarinet, and is sounded by a reed, thus is is considered to be a woodwind instrument. As well, the flute is made of metal (usually silver), but since it is derived from a wooden ancestor, it too, is considered to be a woodwind instrument.
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Wikipedia - Glossary of Musical Terminology
Virginia Tech Multimedia Music Dictionary
ORB -- Medieval Music Glossary