Definition of tree of life in US English:

tree of life


  • 1Tree of Life(in the Bible) a tree in the Garden of Eden whose fruit imparts eternal life (Gen. 3:22–24).

    1. 1.1 A branching, treelike structure representing the evolutionary divergence of all living creatures.
      ‘the migration of small populations to new areas could be seen as the chief cause of the branchings in the tree of life’
      • ‘But the point the people have made is, if you actually look at the shortest branches and the shortest branches that are closest to the trunk that's on the tree of life, then most of those lead to modern thermophiles.’
      • ‘Thanks to collaboration among systematists to resolve the avian tree of life, large morphological and molecular character matrices for neornithine birds are nearing completion.’
      • ‘The effort to produce a Tree of Life - a ‘correct and verifiable family tree’ of all life, both living and extinct - is unquestionably big science.’
      • ‘Major episodes of gene duplication occurred at the base of the tree of life, in the ancestor of vertebrates, and again in the ancestor of teleost fishes, in plants, and in other eukaryotes such as yeast.’
      • ‘When you sequence the genomes of these hot, deep bugs, and you position them on the tree of life, they are the least evolved of all the things on Earth, probably living the same life as they were 3.5 billion years ago.’
    2. 1.2 (in cabalism) a diagram in the form of a tree bearing spheres that represent the sephiroth.
  • 2The thuja or arbor vitae.