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
Cultivars such as winter or pink jasmine grow in lush, robust shapes, with tumbling stems and blooms that emit a fresh perfume. Karen Hugg, Washington Post, 12 Feb. 2024 In the Queen’s Bedroom, a Tiffany blue vanity set is laid out on a table with a hairbrush, comb and perfume bottles that look poised for the return of their tiny owner. Megan Specia, New York Times, 11 Feb. 2024 Shop for one-of-a-kind art pieces, magnets, T-shirts, natural skincare, cacao, perfume and plants. Kamren Curiel, Los Angeles Times, 8 Feb. 2024 This perfume comes in a luxe glass bottle and features notes of nude musk and sweet rose for an everyday scent. Jessie Quinn, Peoplemag, 4 Feb. 2024 Below, check out the best perfumes to gift this year. Anna Tingley, Variety, 22 Jan. 2024 Salazar has worked with a chemist to help sell natural vanilla liqueur, extract and perfume, as well as an artificial vanilla air freshener after requests from customers. Leila Miller, Los Angeles Times, 5 Feb. 2024 To find the best Valentine’s Day gifts, Jessie researched dozens of items across multiple categories, including jewelry, perfume, beauty, and home. Jessie Quinn, Peoplemag, 4 Feb. 2024 This sparked a shift in consumer behavior, and soon enough, a spritz of perfume was considered part of a woman’s everyday beauty routine. Dianna Mazzone, Allure, 1 Feb. 2024
The waiting room was heavily perfumed, with soaring wood ceilings that reminded me of upscale hotels. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, 12 Jan. 2024 Thousands of fresh flowers perfume the hall with a rosy scent. Staff Author, Travel + Leisure, 30 Dec. 2023 Oversized vases of rubrum lilies, flown fresh from the Manhasset greenhouses, perfumed that cool, clean air, and porcelain bowls stayed magically full of fresh litchi nuts. Town & Country, 17 Aug. 2023 Diptyque Paris candles perfumed the airy space, which was populated by the city’s most celebrated tastemakers. Ian Malone, Vogue, 10 Nov. 2023 This bilingual, slow-burning ode to self-empowerment offers a guide to healing a broken heart while staying pretty, perfumed, and a little petty. Pitchfork, 12 Dec. 2023 At New York’s Thai Diner, the chef Ann Redding, 48, fills her cabbage rolls with turkey, mushrooms and jasmine rice and serves them in a coconut-milk broth perfumed by galangal, lemongrass and lime leaves. New York Times, 7 Sep. 2023 Watch the recipe tutorial Citrus Cranberry Sauce Orange zest, segments and juice add floral freshness to the most fantastic cranberry sauce in this traditional Thanksgiving condiment perfumed with cinnamon. Ben Mims, Los Angeles Times, 3 Nov. 2023 Get The Recipe 52 of 75 Lavender Shortbread Cookies Say hello to summer with this crumbly shortbread recipe perfumed with lavender. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 13 Oct. 2023 See More

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 28 Feb. 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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