cit·​ro·​nel·​la | \ ˌsi-trə-ˈne-lə How to pronounce citronella (audio) \

Definition of citronella

: a lemon-scented grass (Cymbopogon nardus) of southern Asia that yields an oil used in perfumery and as an insect repellent also : its oil

Examples of citronella in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Luckily, an internet friend told me about Kinfield’s Golden Hour, a DEET-free bug spray that uses Indonesian citronella to keep mosquitos away. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appétit, 23 July 2021 Don’t forget repellent spray and citronella candles. Marc Bona, cleveland, 27 June 2021 Forget the bugs and pests, these warm nights are too good not to enjoy-especially if we're properly stocked on the best citronella candles out there. Patricia Shannon, Southern Living, 11 June 2021 Want to take your citronella candles to new heights? Kelsey Mulvey, Southern Living, 12 May 2021 This basic citronella candle can be customized to match any outdoor ambiance. Andrea Beck, Better Homes & Gardens, 5 June 2020 But ideally something more atmospheric as well, such as a lantern, twinkle lights (solar ones are great) or even a citronella candle from the supermarket. Fire. Catherine Newman, New York Times, 15 May 2020 Citronella Candle Ditch the bug spray in favor of a stylish citronella candle. Stephanie Perry, Better Homes & Gardens, 1 May 2020 Here are three lighters that will light a campfire, backyard grill, citronella candle, or tiki torch no matter the conditions. The Editors, Field & Stream, 14 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'citronella.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of citronella

circa 1858, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for citronella

New Latin, from French citronnelle lemon balm, from citron

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Time Traveler for citronella

Time Traveler

The first known use of citronella was circa 1858

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Last Updated

26 Jul 2021

Cite this Entry

“Citronella.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for citronella



English Language Learners Definition of citronella

: an oil that smells somewhat like lemons and that is used in candles, lamps, etc., to keep bugs away


cit·​ro·​nel·​la | \ ˌsi-trə-ˈnel-ə How to pronounce citronella (audio) \

Medical Definition of citronella

2 : a fragrant grass (Cymbopogon nardus) of southern Asia that yields citronella oil


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