ar·​bor·​vi·​tae ˌär-bər-ˈvī-tē How to pronounce arborvitae (audio)
: any of various evergreen trees and shrubs (especially genus Thuja) of the cypress family that usually have closely overlapping or compressed scale leaves and are often grown for ornament and in hedges

Examples of arborvitae in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Tall green arborvitaes stand sentinel around the grounds of the picture-perfect Better Homes & Gardens Test Garden®, keeping watch over the half-acre space full of colorful plants and gardening inspiration. Jeanne Ambrose, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 Mar. 2023 Several 25-foot arborvitae trees and a new fence create a sense of tranquility and privacy for the home. Karen A. Avitabile, Hartford Courant, 7 Sep. 2022 Bell strongly suggests dealing with drainage problems before planting your arborvitae. oregonlive, 22 Nov. 2021 There is a very large arborvitae hedge on the property line (easily 35-40 feet tall. oregonlive, 7 Nov. 2021 To control the size of an individual arborvitae or a hedge, prune it regularly and always within the green area. Beth Botts,, 21 Feb. 2021 My arborvitae are turning yellow at an alarming rate. Ellen Nibali,, 5 Nov. 2020 At least the arborvitae don't seem to mind the occasional swipe from a side mirror. Daniel Pund, Car and Driver, 30 May 2020 That’s because arborvitae are actually cone-shaped trees, not shrubs. Real Estate, 17 Oct. 2019

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'arborvitae.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin arbor vitae, literally, tree of life

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of arborvitae was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near arborvitae

Cite this Entry

“Arborvitae.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


ar·​bor·​vi·​tae ˌär-bər-ˈvīt-ē How to pronounce arborvitae (audio)
: any of various evergreen trees and shrubs with closely overlapping scalelike leaves that are often grown for ornament and hedges

modern Latin arbor vitae, literally "tree of life"

More from Merriam-Webster on arborvitae

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