arbor vitae

[ ahr-ber vahy-tee ]
/ ˈɑr bər ˈvaɪ ti /

noun Anatomy.

a treelike appearance in a vertical section of the cerebellum, due to the arrangement of the white and gray nerve tissues. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for arbor vitae

arbor vitae

/ (ˈɑːbɔː ˈviːtaɪ, ˈvaɪtiː) /


any of several Asian and North American evergreen coniferous trees of the genera Thuja and Thujopsis, esp Thuja occidentalis, having tiny scalelike leaves and egglike conesSee also red cedar

Word Origin for arbor vitae

C17: from New Latin, literally: tree of life
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for arbor vitae

arbor vitae


type of evergreen shrub, 1660s, name given by French physician and botanist Charles de Lécluse (1525-1609), Latin, literally "tree of life." Also used in late 18c. rogue's slang as a cant word for "penis."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper