guai·​a·​cum | \ ˈgwī-ə-kəm How to pronounce guaiacum (audio) , ˈgī- How to pronounce guaiacum (audio) \

Definition of guaiacum

1 : any of a genus (Guaiacum) of the caltrop family of tropical American evergreen trees and shrubs having pinnate leaves, usually blue flowers, and capsular fruit
2a : the hard greenish-brown wood of a guaiacum (especially Guaiacum officinale)
b : a resin with a faint balsamic odor that is obtained from the trunk of two guaiacums (G. officinale and G. sanctum) and often used as a clinical reagent

First Known Use of guaiacum

1553, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for guaiacum

New Latin, from Spanish guayaco, from Taino guayacan

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The first known use of guaiacum was in 1553

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Dictionary Entries Near guaiacum

guaiac resin


guaiac wood

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Cite this Entry

“Guaiacum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2021.

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More Definitions for guaiacum


guai·​a·​cum | \ ˈg(w)ī-ə-kəm How to pronounce guaiacum (audio) \

Medical Definition of guaiacum

1 capitalized : a genus (family Zygophyllaceae) of tropical American trees and shrubs having pinnate leaves, usually blue flowers, and capsular fruit
2 : any tree or shrub of the genus Guaiacum
3 : a resin with a faint balsamic odor obtained as tears or masses from the trunk of either of two trees of the genus Guaiacum (G. officinale or G. sanctum) used formerly in medicine as a remedy for gout or rheumatism and now in various tests (as for peroxidases or bloodstains) because of the formation of a blue color on oxidation — see guaiac test


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