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 Last year, Dior also had to cancel an ad campaign for its Sauvage perfume that starred Johnny Depp, due to backlash for its depiction of Native Americans. Lindsay Weinberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "Fashion Institute of Technology Apologizes for "Racist" Fashion Show," 19 Feb. 2020 Anything worn close to the body, from clothes to perfume, should be avoided, along with invites on excursions – like a wine tasting – that could be seen as more romantic than collegial. Charisse Jones, USA TODAY, "Buy a gift for the boss? Here are some do's and don'ts for giving gifts at the office," 12 Dec. 2019 Kim ultimately ditched the name, and simply called her debut perfume, Kim Kardashian for Women. Kaitlyn Frey,, "Kim, Kourtney and Khloé Kardashian Team Up for a Nostalgic KKW Fragrance Collection," 7 Nov. 2019 The traditional black-box packaging that housed his perfumes has been redesigned with a gorgeous floral motif that echoes Buterbaugh's beginnings. Sarah Krumpe, ELLE Decor, "Celebrity Floral Designer Eric Buterbaugh's New Perfume Line," 25 Oct. 2019 Google has its own perfume—or at least one team of the company’s researchers does. Wired, "Now the Machines Are Learning How to Smell," 24 Oct. 2019 The Crystal Gardenia candle, launching September 27th, is inspired by her KKW perfume of the same name. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian is Launching a KKW Fragrance Candle," 16 Sep. 2019 To get rid of any stains from perfumes, sunscreens, and more, slightly dampen the cloth with isopropyl alcohol and wipe clean. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "Here's How to Clean Your Apple AirPods the Right Way," 17 Jan. 2020 The killing happened at the Delux Inn, on Royal at Harry Hines Boulevard, a busy intersection in the heart of the Asian Trade District where electronics, perfume, jewelry, tires and car insurance are sold at discount prices. Robert Wilonsky, Dallas News, "After hundreds of 911 calls from this NW Dallas motel, it took a homicide to get the city to act," 3 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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 Several new recipes are notably accessible for beginning bakers, such as the black tea blondies with caramel or the cake aux olives, a savory quick bread perfumed with olive oil (see recipe). Janelle Bitker,, "The San Francisco Chronicle’s best cookbooks of 2019," 29 Nov. 2019 By mid-summer, the air was perfumed with ripe apricots and the sickly sweetness of the fallen fruits. Grace Hwang Lynch,, "Growing a lemon tree in the Valley of the Heart’s Delight," 31 Oct. 2019 As their garden scissors snip, a bright citrus aroma perfumes the air. Brittany Anas, The Know, "This new gin is made with herbs grown at the Denver Botanic Gardens," 17 Oct. 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

26 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Perfume.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Feb. 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

February 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of probity?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!