Etymology
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red herring (n.)

"smoked herring" early 15c. (they turn red when cured), as opposed to white herring "fresh herring." Supposedly used by fugitives to put bloodhounds off their scent (1680s), hence metaphoric sense (1864) of "something used to divert attention from the basic issue;" earlier it simply meant "a false lead":

Though I have not the honour of being one of those sagacious country gentlemen, who have so long vociferated for the American war, who have so long run on the red-herring scent of American taxation before they found out there was no game on foot; (etc.) [Parliamentary speech dated March 20, 1782, reprinted in "Beauties of the British Senate," London, 1786]
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perfume (n.)

1530s, "fumes from a burning substance," from French parfum (16c.), from parfumer "to scent," from Old Provençal perfumar or cognate words in dialectal Italian (perfumare) or Spanish (perfumar), from Latin per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + fumare "to smoke" (see fume (n.)). Meaning "substance containing agreeable essences of flowers, etc.," is attested from 1540s.

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Hong Kong 
former British colony in China, from Cantonese pronunciation of Chinese Xianggang, literally "fragrant port." Perhaps so called from the scent of incense factories or opium cargoes, or from the semi-fresh waters of the bay. The Cantonese word hong, literally "row, series" was the general English term for foreign trading establishments in China (warehouse viewed as a row of rooms).
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whiff (n.)
13c., weffe "foul scent or odor," of imitative origin. Modern form became popular late 16c. with tobacco smoking, probably influenced by whiffle "blow in gusts or puffs" (1560s). The verb in the baseball slang sense "to swing at a ball and miss" first recorded 1913.
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steam (v.)
Old English stiemen, stymen "emit vapor, emit a scent or odor," from the root of steam (n.). Meaning "go by steam power" is from 1831. Transitive sense from 1660s, "to emit as steam;" meaning "to treat with steam" is from 1798. Slang steam up (transitive) "make (someone) angry" is from 1922. Related: Steamed; steaming.
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lilac (n.)
1590s, shrub of genus Syringa with mauve flowers, with French lilac, Spanish lilac from Turkish leylak (the tree reached Western Europe via Istanbul), perhaps from a native Balkan name. Attested from 1791 as a color name; as a scent, from 1895. As an adjective, "pale pinkish-purple," from 1801. Related: Lilaceous.
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smack (n.1)

"a taste, flavor, savor" especially a slight flavor that suggests something, from Old English smæc "taste; scent, odor," from Proto-Germanic *smakka- (source also of Old Frisian smek, Middle Dutch smæck, Dutch smaak, Old High German smac, German Geschmack, Swedish smak, Danish smag), from verb *smakjanan, from a Germanic and Baltic root meaning "to taste" (source also of Lithuanian smaguriai "dainties," smagus "pleasing"). Meaning "a trace (of something)" is attested from 1530s.

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thyme (n.)

plant of the mint family, late 14c., from Old French thym, tym (13c.) and directly from Latin thymum, from Greek thymon, which had been derived from PIE root *dheu- (1), base of words meaning "smoke," for its scent or from being burned as a sacrifice, but Beekes finds this "doubtful" and suggests that "As a local plant name, the word is liable to be of Pre-Greek origin." Related: Thymic.

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civet (n.)

1530s, "cat-like quadruped of northern Africa," from French civette (15c.), ultimately (with Italian zibetto, Medieval Latin zibethum, Medieval Greek zapetion) via lost intermediate forms from Arabic zabad "civet," which is said to be related to zabad "foam, froth," zubd "cream," but perhaps this is folk-etymology of an African name. As "secretion of the anal glands of a civet-cat," one popular in perfumes, from 1550s. Hence, as a verb, "to scent with perfume" (c. 1600). Related: Civited.

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stench (n.)
Old English stenc "a smell, odor, scent, fragrance" (either pleasant or unpleasant), from Proto-Germanic *stankwiz (source also of Old Saxon stanc, Old High German stanch, German stank). Related to stincan "emit a smell" (see stink (v.)) as drench is to drink. It tended toward "bad smell" in Old English (as a verb, only with this sense), and the notion of "evil smell" has predominated since c. 1200.
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