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 This basic citronella candle can be customized to match any outdoor ambiance. Andrea Beck, Better Homes & Gardens, "This Easy DIY Citronella Candle Will Keep Bugs Away All Summer Long," 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, "This Summer, Consider Camping in Your Own Backyard," 15 May 2020 Citronella Candle Ditch the bug spray in favor of a stylish citronella candle. Stephanie Perry, Better Homes & Gardens, "The Outdoor Essentials We Love from Terrain's New Summer Sale," 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, "Three Lighters Perfect for Any Outdoors Situation," 14 Apr. 2020 Not all citronella candles are created equal, though. The Editors, Field & Stream, "Three Kinds of Citronella Candles and How to Use Them," 3 Dec. 2019 Staff and visitors found its citronella aroma hard to take, and the piece came down in July. Cate Mcquaid,, "At Brandeis, three women artists rise above devastating forces worldwide," 21 Aug. 2019 Rather than spritzing bug sprays and lighting torches and citronella candles, the Radius Zone 2.0 from Thermacell is a no-spray, scentless and DEET-free alternative to keeping mosquitoes away from your outdoor space. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "This Portable DEET-Free, No-Spray Mosquito Repellent Is on Sale Right Now," 15 July 2019 Natural bug sprays, such as Mrs. White’s Unstung Hero, feature ingredients like lemon and citronella that irritate mosquitos that come in contact with them, causing the bugs to leave before if not during a bite. Mackenzie Wagoner, Vogue, "Here’s Why You Are a Mosquito Magnet," 5 July 2018

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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Cite this Entry

“Citronella.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Sep. 2020.

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How to pronounce citronella (audio)

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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