adjective1 : of or relating to a tree : resembling a tree 2 : inhabiting or frequenting trees
“… we emerge into open space, 70 acres of green grassland, a savanna of widely spaced, mature trees, many reaching 60 feet tall, gnarled and weathered, separated as if each had staked out its own territory: an arboreal Gothic cathedral indeed.” — Bill Marken, Sunset, April 2014
“[The hammocks] are relatively indestructible, mimic the arboreal nests used by orangutans, and provide a resting area for the gibbons as they swing among the treetops.” — Jim Redden, Portland Tribune (Oregon), August 25, 2014
Did you know?
Arbor, the Latin word for “tree,” has been a rich source of tree-related words in English, though some are fairly rare. Some arbor descendants are synonyms of arboreal in the “relating to trees” sense: arboraceous, arborary, arborical, and arborous. Some are synonyms meaning “inhabiting trees”: arboreous and arboricole. Others mean “resembling a tree”: arborescent, arboresque, and arboriform. The verb arborize means “to branch freely,” and arborvitae is the name of a shrub that means literally “tree of life.” There’s also arboretum and arboriculture. And we can’t forget Arbor Day, which since 1872 has named a day set aside by various states (and the national government ) for planting trees. But watch out—the word arbor, in the sense of a “bower,” is from Anglo-French herbe.