Meaning of lignum vitae

lig•num vi•tae

Pronunciation: (lig'num vī'tē, vē'tī), [key]
  1. either of two tropical American trees, Guaiacum officinale or G. sanctum, of the caltrop family, having very hard, heavy wood.
  2. the wood of such a tree, used for making pulley blocks, mallet heads, bearings, etc.
  3. any of several other trees yielding a similar hard wood.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.