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arbor vitae Syllabification: ar·bor vi·tae
Pronunciation: /ˌärbər ˈvīdē/
(also arborvitae)

Definition of arbor vitae in English:


1A North American and eastern Asian evergreen coniferous tree of the cypress family.
Example sentences
  • I just had large arbor vitaes removed and a dying pin oak.
  • We removed it, which gave the grass beneath it a fighting chance of living, and planted a line of arbor vitaes between our house and our neighbor's instead.
  • It is best known to the public in general, when cultivated for ornamental gardening, as it frequently is, as the arbor vitae, or ‘tree of life.’
2The arborescent appearance of the white matter in a vertical section of the cerebellum.
Example sentences
  • Because the tissue is highly branched it is called arborvitae.
  • In the middle of the arborvitae are the cerebellar nuclei.
  • Anderson also points out the sections of the brain, the arbor vitae (also known as the "tree of life").


Mid 16th century: from Latin, literally 'tree of life', probably with reference to its medicinal use.

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