Lig"num-vi"tae (?), n. [L., wood of life; lignum wood + vita, genitive vitae, 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.
⇒ In New Zealand the Metrosideros buxifolia is called lignum-vitae, and in Australia a species of Acacia. The bastard lignum-vitae is a West Indian tree (Sarcomphalus laurinus).
© Webster 1913.