from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Either of two tropical American trees (Guaiacum officinale or G. sanctum) having evergreen leaves and very heavy, durable, resinous wood.
- n. The wood of either of these trees, the hardest of commercial woods.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The guaiacum tree.
- n. The wood or resin from such a tree.
New Latin lignum vītae : Latin lignum, wood + Latin vītae, genitive of vīta, life.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin lignum ("wood") vitae ("of life"). (Wiktionary)
The cross is sometimes likened to the Tree of Paradise or the Tree of Life, the arbor vitae, and as lignum vitae is depicted with knots, bark, and flourishing branches.