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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about guaiacum

Time Traveler for guaiacum

Time Traveler

The first known use of guaiacum was in 1553

See more words from the same year

Statistics for guaiacum

Cite this Entry

“Guaiacum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on guaiacum

What made you want to look up guaiacum? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!