tree of life

noun phrase

: a conventionalized and often ornate representation of a tree used as a decorative motif

Examples of tree of life in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This one—which is more than half off—features a gorgeous tree of life engraving on both sides and gold aluminum tubes. Stephanie Osmanski, Southern Living, 6 May 2024 In that sense, beetles are a microcosm of the tree of life, McKenna says. Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Apr. 2024 The finding points to a way that animals across the tree of life can evolve new behaviors. Quanta Magazine, 11 Mar. 2024 Snakes may be quick to evolve into new forms, but people could be haphazardly pruning those buds and branches off the tree of life before they’ve even been spotted. Popular Science, 22 Feb. 2024 All of these things still happen and are important for understanding evolution, but snakes (and similarly diverse animal groups like rodents and passerine birds) suggest that maybe big, sudden jumps are part of how the tree of life has grown too. Popular Science, 22 Feb. 2024 Somewhere in Earth’s past, some branches on the tree of life adopted a body plan that made breathing and cooling down considerably more efficient than how mammalian bodies like ours do it. Jeanne Timmons, Ars Technica, 26 July 2023 If ctenophores branched off before sponges in the tree of life, that suggests one of two scenarios for neuron evolution. Cara Giovanetti, Scientific American, 4 Jan. 2024 Beyond just sea stars, the findings may help scientists understand how new animal shapes and structures evolve in other branches of the tree of life, Oliveri says. Lori Youmshajekian, Scientific American, 3 Nov. 2023

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

Word History

First Known Use

1880, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tree of life was in 1880

Dictionary Entries Near tree of life

Cite this Entry

“Tree of life.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tree%20of%20life. Accessed 18 Jun. 2024.

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