noun Chiefly British.




a leafy, shady recess formed by tree branches, shrubs, etc.
a latticework bower intertwined with climbing vines and flowers.
Obsolete. a grass plot; lawn; garden; orchard.
Also especially British, ar·bour.

Origin of arbor

1350–1400; Middle English (h)erber < Anglo-French, Old French (h)erbier herbarium; respelling with -or under the influence of arbor3 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for arbour

Historical Examples of arbour

  • Then she went down to the arbour where she had shelled peas only that morning.

  • At the end of the walk was an arbour, in which I could see the glimmer of something white.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • May I tell Monsieur Jules to serve breakfast for two in the arbour there?

    The Avenger

    E. Phillips Oppenheim

  • Will you sit in that arbour where I first talked to yourself and Miss Ross?

    Against Odds

    Lawrence L. Lynch

  • When they had been sitting in the arbour for a quarter of an hour or so she became loquacious.

    Despair's Last Journey

    David Christie Murray

British Dictionary definitions for arbour



a leafy glade or bower shaded by trees, vines, shrubs, etc, esp when trained about a trellis
obsolete an orchard, garden, or lawn

Word Origin for arbour

C14 erber, from Old French herbier, from Latin herba grass




the US spelling of arbour




a rotating shaft in a machine or power tool on which a milling cutter or grinding wheel is fitted
a rotating shaft or mandrel on which a workpiece is fitted for machining
metallurgy a part, piece, or structure used to reinforce the core of a mould

Word Origin for arbor

C17: from Latin: tree, mast
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 arbour

chiefly British English spelling of arbor (q.v.); for spelling, see -or.



c.1300, herber, "herb garden," from Old French erbier "field, meadow; kitchen garden," from Latin herba "grass, herb" (see herb). Later "a grassy plot" (early 14c., a sense also in Old French), "a shaded nook" (mid-14c.). Probably not from Latin arbor "tree," though perhaps influenced by its spelling.

The change from er- to ar- before consonants in Middle English also reflects a pronunciation shift: cf. farm from ferme, harbor from Old English herebeorg.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

arbour in Medicine



n. pl. ar•bo•res (ärbə-rēz′)

A treelike anatomical structure.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.