per·​fume | \ ˈpər-ˌfyüm How to pronounce perfume (audio) , (ˌ)pər-ˈfyüm How to pronounce perfume (audio) \

Definition of perfume

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : the scent of something sweet-smelling
2 : a substance that emits a pleasant odor especially : a fluid preparation of natural essences (as from plants or animals) or synthetics and a fixative used for scenting


per·​fume | \ (ˌ)pər-ˈfyüm How to pronounce perfume (audio) , ˈpər-ˌfyüm \
perfumed; perfuming

Definition of perfume (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to fill or imbue with an odor

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Synonyms & Antonyms for perfume

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for perfume


fragrance, perfume, scent, redolence mean a sweet or pleasant odor. fragrance suggests the odors of flowers or other growing things. the fragrance of pine perfume may suggest a stronger or heavier odor. the perfume of lilacs scent is very close to perfume but of wider application because more neutral in connotation. scent-free soaps redolence implies a mixture of fragrant or pungent odors. the redolence of a forest after a rain

Examples of perfume in a Sentence

Noun She smelled the different perfumes at the store. the perfume of fresh flowers filled the room Verb The meal included a delicate fish perfumed with butter and herbs. a time when it was common for men to perfume their hair
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In 1992 Mr Harf orchestrated JAB’s purchase of Coty, a maker of perfume, from Pfizer, an American drugmaker, for $440m. The Economist, "The Reimann hypothesis A peek inside JAB Holding," 20 June 2020 The perfume maker Puig will acquire a majority stake in the makeup brand Charlotte Tilbury, valuing the business at about $1.5 billion. Emma Hinchliffe, Fortune, "The economy is starting to recover, but it’s leaving black women behind," 8 June 2020 Harvey’s despair and frustration, an overpowering perfume—holds the parts together. Katy Waldman, The New Yorker, "The Late-Night Revelations in a Memoir of Insomnia," 4 June 2020 Specifically, rose oil has been an important ingredient in the perfume industry for centuries. Claire Harmeyer, Better Homes & Gardens, "6 Fascinating Facts About Roses That You Probably Didn't Know," 4 June 2020 In the age of quarantine and social distancing, the campaign is meant to transport us to a happier and simpler time — something that a good perfume can also do. Audrey Noble, Allure, "Kaia Gerber Talks TikTok, Quarantine Beauty, and Her New Marc Jacobs Daisy Campaign," 22 Apr. 2020 Traditionalists will immediately appreciate the blackberry cobbler truffles, which burst with a fresh fruit perfume partnered with silky and bittersweet dark chocolate. Paul Stephen,, "Salt Lick BBQ meets Delysia chocolates with delicious results in new candies," 26 Feb. 2020 Shows are there merely to sell a dream that at the end of the day will sell a perfume or a wallet in a duty-free store. Marc Bain, Quartzy, "Do fashion weeks still have a purpose?," 7 Sep. 2019 Adding to the efforts of the larger beauty industry, designer labels, including Dior and Givenchy, have transformed their beauty product manufacturing centers into making hand sanitizer instead of perfume. Lindsay Weinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Gwyneth Paltrow, Drew Barrymore, Victoria Beckham Team on BeautyUnited Coronavirus Relief," 10 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb That idea has since evolved into the American Chinese takeout-style egg drop soup, made from instant chicken stock, thickened with a cornstarch slurry, and perfumed with sesame oil, white pepper, and a dash of light soy sauce. Lucas Sin, Bon Appétit, "Any Soup Can Be Egg Drop Soup If You Want It to Be," 15 May 2020 Traffic cones were placed every which way, trees released poisoned leaves to the green, a light northward breeze perfumed the air with drywall dust and soot. New York Times, "‘The Exhibition of Persephone Q,’ by Jessi Jezewska Stevens: An Excerpt," 5 Mar. 2020 Seagulls cried, and jasmine and lavender bloomed, perfuming the air. Lizzie Johnson,, "Slow start to Oakland’s street-closure bid to help people exercise during coronavirus crisis," 11 Apr. 2020 This liquid gold adds richness to your recipes like no other and perfumes your recipes with a hint of smokiness. Saveur Editors, Saveur, "8 Ways to Use Up Leftover Bacon Fat," 2 May 2017 Modern Indian pickles are more complex and probably more delicious, too — hot and tangy, deeply perfumed with aromatics and ground spices. Tejal Rao, New York Times, "India’s ‘Pickle Queen’ Preserves Everything, Including the Past," 6 Jan. 2020 For $7, Sip fills a fresh bolillo roll with chicken curry salad perfumed like food from an Indonesian bar, spilling over with carrots, apples, raisins and walnuts. Mike Sutter,, "Classic Tex-Mex from Mi Familia de Mi Tierra leads January’s list of 5 things to eat and drink at San Antonio restaurants and bars right now," 20 Jan. 2020 Last year Akuto and Montgomery added gorgeously composed Japanese-style breakfasts: One meal in July included broiled black cod perfumed with yuzu, dashi omelet, eight-grain rice, broccolini with sesame and almond dressing. Los Angeles Times, "Where to eat a traditional Japanese breakfast in Los Angeles," 11 Jan. 2020 The sheets feel starched and clean, the pillows are abundant and fluffy, the air itself is perfumed, and wow, oh wow, the towels. Kaitlin Menza, House Beautiful, "This NYC Hotel Now Offers a Room with a $200,000 Mattress," 13 Dec. 2019

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


circa 1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1546, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for perfume


Middle French perfum, probably from Old Occitan, from perfumar to perfume, from per- thoroughly (from Latin) + fumar to smoke, from Latin fumare, from fumus smoke — more at fume

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Time Traveler for perfume

Time Traveler

The first known use of perfume was in 1546

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Statistics for perfume

Last Updated

23 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Perfume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for perfume


How to pronounce perfume (audio) How to pronounce perfume (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of perfume

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a liquid substance that you put on your body in small amounts in order to smell pleasant
: a pleasant smell


How to pronounce perfume (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of perfume (Entry 2 of 2)

literary : to fill or cover (something) with a pleasant smell
somewhat formal : to put perfume in or on (something)


per·​fume | \ ˈpər-ˌfyüm How to pronounce perfume (audio) \

Kids Definition of perfume

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a liquid used to make a person smell nice
2 : a pleasant smell : fragrance


per·​fume | \ pər-ˈfyüm How to pronounce perfume (audio) \
perfumed; perfuming

Kids Definition of perfume (Entry 2 of 2)

: to add a usually pleasant odor to : have the odor of

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