frankincense

noun

frank·​in·​cense ˈfraŋ-kən-ˌsen(t)s How to pronounce frankincense (audio)
: 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

Recent Examples on the Web Floral with a kick, this sophisticated scent features notes of rose, blackcurrant, raspberry, patchouli, frankincense, and sandalwood, with each 100ml bottle boasting 400 Turkish roses. Hannah Jackson, Vogue, 15 Dec. 2023 The wise men brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh, none of which were probably of immediate use to the postpartum Mary or her infant. Casey Cep, The New Yorker, 23 Dec. 2023 Addis Ababa combines frankincense, myrrh, milk, and honey to bring the Ethiopian capital alive, while Kingston features rum, grapefruit, and sweet pimento leaf to transport you to the beachy Jamaican paradise. Devorah Lev-Tov, Condé Nast Traveler, 8 Dec. 2023 On our visit, the house cocktail (rum and vanilla with orange, lime and passion fruit juices) was interrupted by wafts of frankincense and clamor on the street below, where 100 men in black were carrying a Virgen through the night, the gilded figure flickering in the candlelight. Lisa Johnson, Condé Nast Traveler, 20 Nov. 2023 Punt had it all—fragrant myrrh and frankincense, precious electrum (a mixed alloy of gold and silver) and malachite, and coveted leopard skins, among other exotic luxury goods. Miriam Fauzia, Ars Technica, 11 Nov. 2023 The warm scent of frankincense and myrrh is an inviting and familiar experience and one that will last for a long time. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 11 Apr. 2023 With a light, lingering scent of frankincense and myrrh, this laundry soap will make your clothing smell amazing. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 8 Apr. 2023 The first casks were seasoned with an experimental spirit made by WhistlePig using whey and rye that was infused with Boswellia and Commiphora resin, otherwise known as frankincense and myrrh. Jonah Flicker, Robb Report, 25 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near frankincense

Cite this Entry

“Frankincense.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/frankincense. Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

frankincense

noun
frank·​in·​cense ˈfraŋ-kən-ˌsen(t)s How to pronounce frankincense (audio)
: a fragrant gum resin from African or Arabian trees that is burned as incense

Medical Definition

frankincense

noun
frank·​in·​cense ˈfraŋ-kən-ˌsen(t)s How to pronounce frankincense (audio)
: 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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