agarwood

noun agar·wood \ ˈa-gər-ˌwu̇d , ˈä- \

Definition of agarwood

plural agarwoods
:the soft, dark heartwood that is produced by any of various southeast Asian evergreen trees (genus Aquilaria, especially A. malaccensis synonym A. agallocha) when they become infected with a fungus and that contains a fragrant resin used chiefly to produce incense, perfumes, and traditional medicines
  • When the inside of the tree becomes infected (usually by insects), fungus or mold develops and bores into the tree, which attempts to defend itself by creating agarwood, a resinous heartwood; this slows down the infection and makes the surviving wood more durable.
  • —Lawrence OsborneTown & CountryJune 2014
  • With prices for noncultivated agarwood rising to $10,000 a kilo, few local shopkeepers welcome mere browsers.
  • —Jennifer GampellNew York Times20 July 2008
called also agalloch, agilawood, aloeswood, calambac, eaglewood

There's more!

Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!
Already a subscriber? Log in.

First Known Use of agarwood

1930


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up agarwood? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

spoken rather than written

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one-green-toy-robot-amidst-many-red-toy-robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!