Definition of arbor vitae in English:

arbor vitae

(also arborvitae)


  • 1A North American and eastern Asian evergreen coniferous tree of the cypress family.

    See also white cedar
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is the best arbor-vitae for ornamental planting.’
    • ‘The church would do well to plant tall arbor vitaes behind this, and perhaps also behind the National Shrine of Saint Gerard to preserve the visual integrity of the monuments against distracting clutter in the background.’
    • ‘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.

    • ‘In the middle of the arborvitae are the cerebellar nuclei.’
    • ‘Because the tissue is highly branched it is called arborvitae.’
    • ‘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.


arbor vitae

/ˌärbər ˈvīdē//ˌɑrbər ˈvaɪdi/