cas·​to·​re·​um ka-ˈstȯr-ē-əm How to pronounce castoreum (audio)
: a bitter strong-smelling creamy orange-brown substance that consists of the dried perineal glands of the beaver and their secretion and is used especially by perfumers

called also castor

Examples of castoreum in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the early 20th century, castoreum began appearing in some foods to add a vanilla-raspberry flavor. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Nov. 2023 But removing castoreum from beavers is a labor-intensive process. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Nov. 2023 The Romans burned castoreum in lamps, believing the fumes caused abortions. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Nov. 2023 The Romans believed castoreum capable of curing ailments from constipation to gout, and the substance still scents perfumes and occasionally flavors some foods today, although its culinary use has dwindled dramatically in recent decades. Amy Brady, Scientific American, 1 Dec. 2022 But they were thought to have been hunted to extinction in the 17th century for their meat, their castoreum — a secretion used in medicine and perfumes — and, above all, their fur. Karla Adam, Washington Post, 7 Aug. 2020 Tamworth Distillery, whose bourbon was earlier reported on by the local news outlet Concord Monitor, hasn’t been shy about including beaver castoreum in its booze. Don Reisinger, Fortune, 13 June 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'castoreum.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English castorium, from Latin castoreum, from castor

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of castoreum was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near castoreum

Cite this Entry

“Castoreum.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

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