Definition of guaiacum in US English:

guaiacum

noun

  • 1An evergreen tree of the Caribbean and tropical America, formerly important for its hard, heavy, oily timber but now scarce.

    Guaiacum officinale and G. sanctum, family Zygophyllaceae

    Also called lignum vitae
    • ‘There are natural groupings of white and red fern leaf acacias in this Province, along with guaiacums, itínes, locust trees and white sages.’
    • ‘There are natural concentrations of white and red fern leaf acacias in this Province, along with guaiacums, locust trees, itínes and white sages.’
    • ‘The Hapsburg Charles V also controlled Spain and, consequently, all shipping to and from Hispaniola, where the guaiacum tree grew.’
    • ‘But all this is part of the past, and now Villahermosa awakens with the delicate murmur of the river and the fresh aroma of the flowers of the guaiacums.’
    • ‘In the United States the guaiacum is grown for decorative purposes in Florida and California.’
    1. 1.1
      another term for guaiac
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In the early 16 th-century a ‘wonder drug’, guaiacum, from the Americas, was discovered, and thought to cure syphilis.’
      • ‘And guaiacum is used by herbalists today.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

guaiacum

/ˈɡwaɪəkəm//ˈɡwīəkəm/