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From Latin arboreus (tree-like) +‎ -al, mid-17th century.




  1. Of, relating to, or resembling a tree.
    • 1650, Walter Charleton (translator), “Of the Magnetick Cure of Wounds” in A Ternary of Paradoxes, by Jan Baptist van Helmont, London: William Lee, p. 72,[1]
      High and sacred, in good troth, is the power of the microcosmical spirit, which without any arboreal trunck produceth a true Cherry:
    • 1919, T. S. Eliot, “Whispers of Immortality”, in Selected Poems[2], Penguin, published 1948:
      The sleek Brazilian jaguar
      Does not in its arboreal gloom
      Distil so rank a feline smell
      As Grishkin in a drawing-room.
    • 1922, James Joyce, Ulysses[3], London: The Egoist Press, page 282:
      In the mild breezes of the west and of the east lofty trees wave in different directions their first class foliage, the wafty sycamore, the Lebanonian cedar, the exalted planetree, the eugenic eucalyptus and other ornaments of the arboreal world with which that region is thoroughly well supplied.
    • 1979, William Styron, chapter 2, in Sophie’s Choice[4], New York: Random House, page 37:
      Only short blocks away traffic flowed turbulently on Flatbush Avenue [] but here the arboreal green and the pollen-hazy light, the infrequent trucks and cars, the casual pace of the few strollers at the park’s border all created the effect of an outlying area in a modest Southern city []
  2. Living in or among trees.
  3. Covered or filled with trees.
    Synonym: arboreous
    • 1885, Richard Jefferies, “Forest”, in The Open Air,[7], London: Chatto and Windus, page 188:
      The breadth of the arboreal landscape requires a longer list of living creatures, and creatures of greater bulk.
    • 1945, Elizabeth Bowen, “The Demon Lover”, in The Demon Lover and Other Stories,[8], London: Jonathan Cape, page 96:
      She married him, and the two of them settled down in this quiet, arboreal part of Kensington:
    • 1995, Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory[9], New York: Knopf, Part 3, Chapter 7, p. 426:
      mountains, unlike the arboreal garden and the sacred stream, had gone unmentioned in the account of Creation given in Genesis

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arboreal (plural arboreals)

  1. Any tree-dwelling creature.
    • 1971, Theo Lang, The difference between a man and a woman:
      So, by learning to use their eyes to more and more advantage the arboreals added another treasure to the foundation of human intelligence.