frank·​in·​cense | \ˈfraŋ-kən-ˌsen(t)s \

Definition of frankincense 

: a fragrant gum resin from trees of a genus (Boswellia of the family Burseraceae) of Somalia and southern coastal Arabia that is an important incense resin and has been used in religious rites, perfumery, and embalming

Examples of frankincense in a Sentence

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Healing oils like lavender, frankincense, thyme, eucalyptus, sweet marjoram, and tea tree can eliminate mucus, relax the body, and calm your cough, says Lohman who suggest adding 15-18 drops in one ounce of unscented lotion. Allison Young, Good Housekeeping, "4 Genius Ways Essential Oils Can Ease Congestion And Cough Better Than Over-The-Counter Meds," 20 Oct. 2017 With Confidence To treat sudden breakouts, this spot treatment from Kiehl’s (formulated with oil-absorbing ginger root, salicylic acid, and frankincense) works fast to reduce the size of a lone blemish and diminish redness overnight. Jenna Rennert, Vogue, "6 Ways to Get Rid of Acne for Good This Summer," 8 July 2018 So much more than an incense scent, frankincense could be the anti-ager your skin needs. Sunset, "Your Guide To Essential Oils," 22 Jan. 2018 Alternatives include ylang-ylang, bergamot, cedarwood, vetiver, frankincense, and Roman Chamomile. Karen Campbell,, "Trouble sleeping? Let your senses be your guide," 12 July 2018 These cleansing baths involved chanting prayers, rubbing frankincense and eucalyptus oils and sea salt on their bodies, and burning myrrh, the newspaper reported. Chris Harris,, "Mass. Women Allegedly Burned, Disfigured 5-Year-Old in Voodoo Ritual to 'Rid Her of a Demon'," 5 Feb. 2018 Get our daily newsletter The desire to do business has long been present, its history visible along the creek in old Dubai where the souk boasts frankincense from Oman and saffron from Iran. The Economist, "Do buyHow Dubai became a model for free trade, openness and ambition," 21 June 2018 Tim and Brian inhaled, their own communion of frankincense and nicotine, as the fog swirled down from Buena Vista Park. Kevin Fisher-paulson, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tim has left us, but the fight continues," 14 May 2018 Rosemary and peppermint are a perfect duo to harness greater mental clarity, while basil, ginger, and frankincense will help boost your energy levels on those humdrum days. Molly Marquand, Good Housekeeping, "7 Mistakes You're Making With Essential Oils," 19 July 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'frankincense.' 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 frankincense

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for frankincense

Middle English fraunk encense, from Anglo-French franc encens, from franc (perhaps in sense "of high quality") + encens incense

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Last Updated

7 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for frankincense

The first known use of frankincense was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of frankincense

: a substance that is burned for its sweet smell and that was used in religious ceremonies in ancient times


frank·​in·​cense | \ˈfraŋ-kən-ˌsens \

Kids Definition of frankincense

: a plant gum that is burned for its sweet smell


frank·​in·​cense | \ˈfraŋ-kən-ˌsen(t)s \

Medical Definition of frankincense 

: a fragrant gum resin from trees (genus Boswellia of the family Burseraceae) of Somalia and southern coastal Arabia that is an important incense resin and has been used in religious rites, perfumery, and embalming

called also olibanum

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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