lignum vitae

lig·​num vi·​tae | \ ˌlig-nəm-ˈvī-tē How to pronounce lignum vitae (audio) \
plural lignum vitaes

Definition of lignum vitae

1 : the very hard heavy wood of any of several tropical American guaiacums
2 : a tree yielding lignum vitae

Examples of lignum vitae in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The scents are created using native flowers — such as hibiscus, lignum vitae, elderflower — from St. Martin, Aruba, St. Thomas and other islands. Kavita Daswani,, "So, you want to avoid holiday commercialism? These gifts give back to those in need," 3 Nov. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lignum vitae.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of lignum vitae

1594, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lignum vitae

New Latin, literally, wood of life

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The first known use of lignum vitae was in 1594

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Cite this Entry

“Lignum vitae.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for lignum vitae

lignum vitae

lig·​num vi·​tae | \ ˌlig-nəm-ˈvīt-ē How to pronounce lignum vitae (audio) \
plural lignum vitaes

Medical Definition of lignum vitae

1 : any of several tropical American trees of the genus Guaiacum with very hard heavy wood especially : either of two (G. officinale or G. sanctum) that are sources of guaiacum resin
2 : the wood of a lignum vitae

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