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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for perfume

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 One trend that the social media app's users are putting their own spin on: Take video a messy room, then throw what's supposed to be an explosive (TikTokers get creative, using anything from a bottle of perfume to a tennis ball to a single shoe). Hannah Yasharoff, USA TODAY, "5 tips for spring cleaning this year (since coronavirus has you quarantined at home, anyway)," 19 Mar. 2020 From a cocoon that seemed to be spun out of perfume and after-hours smoke, Bryan Ferry emerged as the kind of rock-god role model that maturing audiences don’t get to see enough of these days. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Bryan Ferry is an ageless wonder at Copley Symphony Hall concert," 28 Aug. 2019 For example, Amba really likes the smell of perfume, especially Calvin Klein's Obsession. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "You can train tigers, feed birds and climb to the top of a giant aquarium at the zoo's new tours," 31 July 2019 For example, in several cases, little jugs of perfume were tucked near the head of the deceased. Megan Gannon, Smithsonian, "Ancient DNA Sheds New Light on the Biblical Philistines," 3 July 2019 Since launching in 2014, the brand has found a home in the world’s most forward-thinking museum boutiques with fragrances that challenge the conventional alchemy of perfume altogether. Chioma Nnadi, Vogue, "A New Series of Art World Perfumes Is Challenging What It Means to Smell Good," 24 May 2019 Washing and bathing became more popular, as did the use of perfumes and scents. Mark M. Smith, The Conversation, "Welcome to your sensory revolution, thanks to the pandemic," 27 Apr. 2020 Spicy foods as well as strong odors like perfumes, chemical cleaners and smoke are common nausea triggers. Annie Sneed, New York Times, "Morning Sickness During Pregnancy: What to Do and How to Cope," 17 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Some contended they were scented lumps of ointment designed to be melted, then used to cleanse and perfume the body. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Ancient Egyptian Head Cones Were Real, Grave Excavations Suggest," 11 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about perfume

Time Traveler for perfume

Time Traveler

The first known use of perfume was in 1546

See more words from the same year

Statistics for perfume

Last Updated

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Perfume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on perfume

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Obscure Shapes

  • a pile of three dimensional shapes in green
  • Something that is ooid is shaped like:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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