Definition of arbor vitae in English:

arbor vitae

Syllabification: ar·bor vi·tae
Pronunciation: /ˈärbər ˈvītē
(also arborvitae)


  • 1A North American and eastern Asian evergreen coniferous tree of the cypress family.
    • Genus Thuja, family Cupressaceae: several species, in particular the northern white cedar (see white cedar)
    More 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.
    More 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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