ar·​bo·​re·​al | \ är-ˈbȯr-ē-əl How to pronounce arboreal (audio) \

Definition of arboreal

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

Other Words from arboreal

arboreally \ är-​ˈbȯr-​ē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce arboreal (audio) \ adverb

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 a few are fairly rare. Some arbor descendants are generally synonymous with arboreal: arboraceous, arborary, arboreous, and arborous. Others are primarily synonymous with arboreal in the sense of "relating to or resembling a tree": arborescent, arboresque, arborical, and arboriform. And one, arboricole, is a synonym of arboreal in its sense of "inhabiting trees." 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, a place where trees are cultivated, and arboriculture, the cultivation of trees. 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. Despite its spelling, however, the English word arbor, in the sense of a "bower," does not have its roots in the Latin arbor. Instead, it arises by way of the Anglo-French herbe from the Latin herba, meaning "herb" or "grass."

Examples of arboreal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The latest sculpture revisits the arboreal theme of some of the studio's previous works. Hafsa Khalil, CNN, 25 Apr. 2022 Next, the drawings are painted in single colors on canvas, surrounded by arboreal backdrops rendered in a hazier, more watery mode. Washington Post, 22 Apr. 2022 They were made in Mexico, Asia, the D.C. region and other areas to demonstrate both the universality and the individuality of arboreal forms. Washington Post, 8 Apr. 2022 Standing on a lot redolent of fresh-cut poplar and littered with arboreal debris — tree chunks as large as small cars that were once a 108-foot-tall living organism — Zumot said the choice was easy. Washington Post, 4 Mar. 2022 Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatra and Borneo are homes to arboreal tarantulas, but Taksinus is the first of its kind to be discovered in Thailand. NBC News, 21 Jan. 2022 Most trees take the long nap, but holly, pine, fir and spruce bring us unmatched arboreal joy this time of year. David G. Allan, CNN, 21 Dec. 2021 As the sun went down in midtown, the crew formed a kind of arboreal assembly line, passing the branches to the workers scrambling up the frame. Benjamin Naddaff-hafrey, Curbed, 26 Nov. 2021 Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Transportation began removing almost 200 trees impeding construction of a new highway, despite Austin residents’ attempts to stay the arboreal executions in court. Eleanor Cummins, The New Republic, 20 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of arboreal

circa 1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for arboreal

Latin arboreus of a tree, from arbor

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The first known use of arboreal was circa 1667

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Dictionary Entries Near arboreal

Arbor Day



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Last Updated

8 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Arboreal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for arboreal


ar·​bo·​re·​al | \ är-ˈbȯr-ē-əl How to pronounce arboreal (audio) \

Kids Definition of arboreal

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

More from Merriam-Webster on arboreal

Nglish: Translation of arboreal for Spanish Speakers


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