- Enter a word for the dictionary definition.
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Lignum-vitae \Lig"num-vi"tae\ (l[i^]g"n[u^]m v[imac]"t[=e]), n. [L., wood of life; lignum wood + vita, genitive vit[ae], life.] (Bot.) A tree (Guaiacum officinale) found in the warm latitudes of America, from which the guaiacum of medicine is procured. Its wood is very hard and heavy, and is used for various mechanical purposes, as for the wheels of ships' blocks, cogs, bearings, and the like. See Guaiacum. [1913 Webster] Note: In New Zealand the Metrosideros buxifolia is called lignum-vit[ae], and in Australia a species of Acacia. The bastard lignum-vit[ae] is a West Indian tree (Sarcomphalus laurinus). [1913 Webster]