Definition of guaiacum in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈɡwʌɪəkəm/


1An evergreen tree of the Caribbean and tropical America, formerly important for its hard, heavy, oily timber but now scarce. Also called lignum vitae.
  • Guaiacum officinale and G. sanctum, family Zygophyllaceae.
Example sentences
  • The Hapsburg Charles V also controlled Spain and, consequently, all shipping to and from Hispaniola, where the guaiacum tree grew.
  • In the United States the guaiacum is grown for decorative purposes in Florida and California.
  • There are natural concentrations of white and red fern leaf acacias in this Province, along with guaiacums, locust trees, itínes and white sages.
1.1 another term for guaiac.
Example sentences
  • And guaiacum is used by herbalists today.
  • In the early 16 th-century a ‘wonder drug’, guaiacum, from the Americas, was discovered, and thought to cure syphilis.
  • In 1519 the German humanist Ulrich von Hutton wrote a treatise on guaiacum, a new wonder drug from the Americas that was believed to cure syphilis.


Mid 16th century: modern Latin, via Spanish from Taino guayacan.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: guai|acum

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.