incense

1 of 3

noun

in·​cense ˈin-ˌsen(t)s How to pronounce incense (audio)
1
: material used to produce a fragrant odor when burned
2
: the perfume exhaled from some spices and gums when burned
broadly : a pleasing scent
3
: pleasing attention : flattery

incense

2 of 3

verb (1)

in·​cense ˈin-ˌsen(t)s How to pronounce incense (audio)
incensed; incensing

transitive verb

1
: to apply or offer incense to
2
: to perfume with incense

incense

3 of 3

verb (2)

in·​cense in-ˈsen(t)s How to pronounce incense (audio)
incensed; incensing

transitive verb

1
: to arouse the extreme anger or indignation of
2
archaic : to cause (a passion or emotion) to become aroused

Example Sentences

Noun the heavenly incense of spring flowers count on the office manager to spread the incense whenever there's a visiting VIP from the head office

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English encens, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin incensum, from Latin, neuter of incensus, past participle of incendere to set on fire, from in- + -cendere to burn; akin to Latin candēre to glow — more at candid

Verb (2)

Middle English encensen, probably from Latin incensus, past participle of incendere to set on fire, provoke

First Known Use

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of incense was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near incense

Cite this Entry

“Incense.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incense. Accessed 26 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

incense 1 of 2

noun

in·​cense ˈin-ˌsen(t)s How to pronounce incense (audio)
1
a
: material used to produce a fragrant odor when burned
b
: the odor so produced
2
: a pleasing scent

incense

2 of 2

verb

in·​cense
in-ˈsen(t)s
incensed; incensing
: to make very angry

More from Merriam-Webster on incense

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


Commonly Confused Words Quiz

  • vector image of a face with thought expression
  • I went to the ______ store to buy a birthday card.
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ