adjective ar·bo·re·al \ är-ˈbȯr-ē-əl \
|Updated on: 12 Aug 2018

Definition of arboreal

1 : of, relating to, or resembling a tree
2 : inhabiting or frequenting trees
  • arboreal monkeys


play \-ə-lē\ adverb

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Examples of arboreal in a Sentence

  1. Primate keepers Colleen Reed and Scott Jackson wove the hose into hammocks, which are now being used by 54-year-old orangutan Inji and gibbons Phyllis and Duffy. They are relatively indestructible, mimic the arboreal nests used by orangutans, and provide a resting area for the gibbons as they swing among the treetops. —Portland (Ore.) Tribune, Firefighters' gift helps aging zoo apes, by Jim Redden, August 25, 2014

  2. It's an amazing sight, but not the most amazing of all. That comes near the end of the trail's loop, where we emerge into open space, 70 acres of green grassland, a savanna of widely spaced, mature trees, many reaching 60 feet tall, gnarled and weathered, separated as if each had staked out its own territory: an arboreal Gothic cathedral indeed. —Sunset [NEXIS], April 2014, HEADLINE: Oak Land, BYLINE: Marken, Bill

  3. A chachalaca is a galliforme [sic] that moves around at a high level above the ground. Similar birds, such s the grouse or turkey, stick mostly to the ground. Marion believes the bird’s arboreal lifestyle is an adaptation to its environment, which is usually near water, Chachalacas took to trees to survive floods, he thinks. —“In Search of Chachalacs” P. 82, Chuck Wanager, BIRD WATCHER’S DIGEST Vol. 17 No. 2, November/December 1994

  4. In the early ’60s, Turner was a photorealist, painting precise and accurate recreations of life that could easily be mistaken for photographs. He later turned to a more whimsical style, and then to a series of tree paintings. By 1983, Turner’s trees had turned flesh-colored, with limbs intertwining and branches beginning to resemble arms. The metamorphosis of his subjects from arboreal to human was eventually completed. And, as Turner recalls ruefully, the audience that had adored his treescapes began asking, “What happened to this guy we thought we knew?” —“Portrait of an Artist” P. 40, Peter Gambaccini, RUNNER’S WORLD Vol. 29 No. 2, February 1994

Recent Examples of arboreal from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'arboreal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Head To The Forest to Define arboreal

Arbor, the Latin word for "tree," has been a rich source of tree-related words in English, though some are fairly rare. Some arbor descendants are synonyms of arboreal in the "relating to trees" sense: arboraceous, arborary, arborical, and arborous. Some are synonyms meaning "inhabiting trees": arboreous and arboricole. Others mean "resembling a tree": arborescent, arboresque, and arboriform. The verb arborize means "to branch freely," and arborvitae is the name of a shrub that means literally "tree of life." There's also arboretum and arboriculture. And we can't forget Arbor Day, which since 1872 has named a day set aside by various states (and the national government ) for planting trees. But watch out-the word arbor, in the sense of a "bower," is from Anglo-French herbe.

Origin and Etymology of arboreal

Latin arboreus of a tree, from arbor

ARBOREAL Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of arboreal for English Language Learners

  • : of or relating to trees

  • : living in or often found in trees

ARBOREAL Defined for Kids


adjective ar·bo·re·al \ är-ˈbȯr-ē-əl \

Definition of arboreal for Students

1 : living in or often found in trees
  • Koalas are arboreal animals.
2 : of or relating to a tree
  • the forest's arboreal beauty

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