pomander

noun

po·​man·​der ˈpō-ˌman-dər How to pronounce pomander (audio)
pō-ˈman-
1
: a mixture of aromatic substances enclosed in a perforated bag or box and used to scent clothes and linens or formerly carried as a guard against infection
also : a clove-studded orange or apple used for the same purposes
2
: a box or hollow fruit-shaped ball for holding pomander

Did you know?

In earlier times, there was more at stake in the use of an "apple of amber" (the literal meaning of Anglo-French pomme de ambre, modified to "pomander" in Middle English) than the addition of holiday spirit. Pomanders were used to offset foul odors and were also believed to protect against disease. Early pomanders were usually mixtures of fragrant spices, herbs, etc. in small metal containers, and they were often worn on chains, as jewelry, around the neck or at the waist. Today, we no longer believe pomanders ward off infections, but we still like nice-smelling things, and the word pomander survives to name the modern version of this aromatic, decorative object.

Examples of pomander in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Pull out the whole cloves and clementines to fashion some pomanders. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 8 Nov. 2023 To add some spice, turn you citrus fruits into pomanders, which are beautiful and smell like the holidays. Southern Living Editors, Southern Living, 2 Oct. 2023 This annual light display includes a gnome village, Santa and his workshop, a light tunnel, crystal disco, Wishing Tree, model trains and the opportunity to make an orange and clove pomander to take home. Jeanette Marantos, Los Angeles Times, 4 Nov. 2021 Wealthy women carried a pomander on a chain, then an expensive fashion accessory. Stacey Leasca, Travel + Leisure, 19 Mar. 2021 Stud a fresh orange with cloves for pomander balls that fill the house with a spicy-sweet scent, then upcycle leftover glass jars into a colorful Kwanzaa kinara. Jen Rose Smith, CNN, 19 Nov. 2020 Think of drinking red wine that has marinated a pomander orange. Dave McIntyre, chicagotribune.com, 26 Dec. 2017

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

Word History

Etymology

Middle English, modification of Anglo-French pomme de ambre, literally, apple or ball of amber

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pomander was in the 15th century

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near pomander

Cite this Entry

“Pomander.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pomander. Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Medical Definition

pomander

noun
po·​man·​der ˈpō-ˌman-dər, pō-ˈ How to pronounce pomander (audio)
: a mixture of aromatic substances enclosed in a perforated bag or box and used to scent clothes and linens or formerly carried as a guard against infection
also : a clove-studded orange or apple used for the same purposes

More from Merriam-Webster on pomander

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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