Definition of perfume in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpərˌfyo͞om/
Pronunciation: /ˌpərˈfyo͞om/


1A fragrant liquid typically made from essential oils extracted from flowers and spices, used to impart a pleasant smell to one’s body or clothes: I caught a whiff of her fresh lemony perfume musk-based perfumes
More example sentences
  • There are also recipes for nightime face elixirs, solid and liquid perfumes, and moisturizing body oils.
  • A beautiful town in the foothills of the Alps, it is the centre of the French perfume industry with the countryside filled with roses, jasmine, bitter orange blossom and other flowers from which the perfumes are distilled.
  • He took the trouble to give her something more personal than the usual flowers, perfumes or jewelry.
1.1A pleasant smell: the heady perfume of lilacs
More example sentences
  • In the run-up to Christmas Eve, give them pride of place in the warmth of the living room, where they will suffuse the air with a heady, sweet perfume.
  • Walk by a pile of good melons and the air should be full of heady perfume without rotting or fermented undertones.
  • Wildflowers spread their sweet heady perfume along the gentle breezes and bees hum musically to themselves as they cheerily collect flower pollen.


[with object]
1Impart a pleasant smell to: just one bloom of jasmine has the power to perfume a whole room
More example sentences
  • The alley is perfumed with the smell of excellent Thai cooking that draws you inside, up an uneven stairway to the restaurant.
  • Fragrant flowers in a single pot can perfume a whole room.
  • The skill of the confectioner would be required to preserve flowers - such as roses - considered to have medicinal virtues; the resulting confection would have the pleasant side effect of perfuming the breath when eaten.
1.1 (usually be perfumed) Impregnate (something) with perfume or a sweet-smelling ingredient: the cream is perfumed with rosemary and iris extracts
More example sentences
  • The room was lit almost completely by soft candlelight, and the air was perfumed by sweet-smelling incense, and men smoking pipes filled with herbal concoctions.
  • Fruit, vegetables, ice and feathers are all handy props; a bath or shower with a richly perfumed soap won't be forgotten; hot candle wax and permanent dye are a no no.
  • A whisper of herbs - rosemary and tarragon - perfume this wine, along with the flavor of melons.
1.2Apply perfume to (someone or something): her hair was oiled and perfumed
More example sentences
  • A highlight of the display is a sandalwood comb with two hidden chambers, one filled with oil, the other with ‘ittar’ that oils and perfumes the hair as it is combed.
  • One hour later she had been bathed, perfumed, oiled, and dressed to perfection.



Pronunciation: /-mē/
Example sentences
  • ‘I'm asthmatic and when I burn paraffin candles in my home, or get around smoke or perfumy scents, my airway closes down and I start to panic.’
  • All that remained of her was a faint trace of her sweet perfumy aroma.
  • It had a perfumy smell, sir, it must have been hers.


Mid 16th century (originally denoting pleasant-smelling smoke from a burning substance, especially one used in fumigation): from French parfum (noun), parfumer (verb), from obsolete Italian parfumare, literally 'to smoke through'.

  • fumigate from mid 16th century:

    We would fumigate a room today if we wanted to disinfect it, but the earliest use was ‘to perfume’, of which it is also the root, from the same period, from the pleasant smell of incense. It comes ultimately from Latin fumus ‘smoke’, which also gives us fume (Late Middle English). See also funk

Words that rhyme with perfume

abloom, assume, backroom, bloom, Blum, boom, broom, brume, combe, consume, doom, entomb, exhume, flume, foredoom, fume, gloom, Hume, illume, inhume, Khartoum, khoum, loom, neume, plume, presume, resume, rheum, room, spume, subsume, tomb, vroom, whom, womb, zoom

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: per·fume

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