1 of 2


: the scent of something sweet-smelling
: 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


2 of 2


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

transitive verb

: to fill or imbue with an odor
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
Recent Examples on the Web
The cabinet features two exterior shelving areas that are a great place to display candles, perfume, soap, and more. Jack Byram, Better Homes & Gardens, 12 July 2024 The three-tier design allows for ample storage for perfumes, makeup, and other beauty items, clearing your counters in one simple step. Mia Meltzer, Rolling Stone, 11 July 2024
In the Mexican city that once perfumed the world, a push to revive vanilla The initiative has supporters at Mexico’s National Institute of Psychiatry, where scientists have government permission to investigate the potential therapeutic effects of magic mushrooms. Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2024 Keep the baby – perfumed by that intoxicating newborn smell – fed. Erin Jensen, USA TODAY, 24 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for perfume 

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

Word History



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

First Known Use


circa 1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1546, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of perfume was in 1546

Dictionary Entries Near perfume

Cite this Entry

“Perfume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: the scent of something usually sweet-smelling
: a substance that gives off a pleasant odor
especially : a liquid containing fragrant oils (as from flowers) mixed with alcohol and applied to the body to give it a pleasant odor


2 of 2 verb
per·​fume (ˌ)pər-ˈfyüm How to pronounce perfume (audio)
perfumed; perfuming
: to fill with a pleasing odor (as of flowers)

More from Merriam-Webster on perfume

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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