Definition of lignum vitae in US English:

lignum vitae


  • another term for guaiacum
    • ‘Wild orchids and the gorgeous purple national flower, lignum vitae, twine among the tangle of vines and the aerial ‘Old Man's Beard’ drips from telephone and power lines.’
    • ‘It is also a very hard and heavy wood, even more so than lignum vitae, or ironwood.’
    • ‘Closer scrutiny reveals that they are made of lignum vitae, an exotic West Indian hardwood characterized by occasional streaks of bright yellow.’
    • ‘Handles and other wooden components are mahogany lignum vitae, or fruit-wood rather than the beech typically used for tools.’
    • ‘Look out for objects made of lignum vitae, a heavy rose-coloured hardwood, but shop around to get a sense of value before buying.’


Latin, ‘wood of life’.