[gwahy-uh-kuh m]
  1. any of several tropical American trees or shrubs belonging to the genus Guaiacum of the caltrop family; lignum vitae.
  2. the hard, heavy wood of such a tree; guaiac.
  3. resin obtained from such a tree; guaiac.

Origin of guaiacum

1525–35; < New Latin < Spanish guayaco, guayacán < Taino Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Historical Examples of guaiacum

British Dictionary definitions for guaiacum



  1. any tropical American evergreen tree of the zygophyllaceous genus Guaiacum, such as the lignum vitae
  2. the hard heavy wood of any of these trees
  3. Also called: guaiac (ˈɡwaɪæk) a brownish resin obtained from the lignum vitae, used medicinally and in making varnishes

Word Origin for guaiacum

C16: New Latin, from Spanish guayaco, of Taino origin
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