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

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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 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.

Examples of arboreal in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Due to the danger of speeding on the roads, a movement has developed to create arboreal bridges for animal crossings in biodiversity hot spots like the Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica. Cecilia Rodriguez, Forbes, 1 June 2021 Besides getting us outside and paying attention to nature, the National Champion Trees Program also raises awareness of the rich arboreal diversity across the country. Rita Pelczar, Better Homes & Gardens, 29 Apr. 2021 One lineage of tarantulas lived in underground burrows, and another type preferred an arboreal lifestyle, Live Science reports. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Apr. 2021 Nearly the whole of humanity, from the arboreal hominins of two million years ago to the urbanites of the late nineteenth century, lived in the shadow of trees. Daniel Immerwahr, The New Republic, 1 Dec. 2020 The arboreal shift from green to gold marks the beginning of autumn for many in temperate climes, a color change that goes hand in hand with pumpkin spice lattes and cozying up as the weather cools. Ula Chrobak, Popular Science, 30 Nov. 2020 In the arid south, brown or ringed lemurs can scamper for miles on the ground; in Antohakalava, the species are largely arboreal and stay high up in the trees, safe from a catlike predator called the foosa. Erik Vance, New York Times, 26 Oct. 2020 European settlers exacerbated this arboreal destruction, clearing the great U.S. eastern forest over the course of the 19th century. David Biello, Scientific American, 27 June 2014 The bright August sunlight revealed an arboreal massacre in downtown Washington’s largest park. Washington Post, 8 Aug. 2020

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.

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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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Time Traveler for arboreal

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The first known use of arboreal was circa 1667

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Last Updated

13 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Arboreal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for arboreal



English Language Learners Definition of arboreal

formal + literary : of or relating to trees
technical : living in or often found in trees


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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