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.
1530s, "to fill with smoke or vapor," from perfume (n.) or from French parfumer. Meaning "to impart a sweet scent to" is from 1530s. Related: Perfumed; perfuming.
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "dust, vapor, smoke."
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit dhuma- "smoke, fume;" Greek thymos "spirit, courage, anger," thymiao "fumigate," thymin "incense;" Latin fumus "smoke, steam, fume;" Lithuanian dūmai "smoke" (plural); Old Prussian dumis "smoke;" Old Church Slavonic dymu "smoke;" Middle Irish dumacha "fog;" perhaps Old High German toum "steam, vapor."
"perfume from flowers" (especially roses), 1788, from Hindi/Urdu atr "perfume," from Persian 'itr "perfume," from Arabic 'itr "perfume, aroma."
Proto-Indo-European root forming prepositions, etc., meaning "forward," and, by extension, "in front of, before, first, chief, toward, near, against," etc.
It forms all or part of: afford; approach; appropriate; approve; approximate; barbican; before; deprive; expropriate; far; first; for; for-; fore; fore-; forefather; foremost; former (adj.); forth; frame; frau; fret; Freya; fro; froward; from; furnish; furniture; further; galore; hysteron-proteron; impervious; improbity; impromptu; improve; palfrey; par (prep.); para- (1) "alongside, beyond; altered; contrary; irregular, abnormal;" paradise; pardon; paramount; paramour; parvenu; pellucid; per; per-; percent; percussion; perennial; perestroika; perfect; perfidy; perform; perfume; perfunctory; perhaps; peri-; perish; perjury; permanent; permeate; permit; pernicious; perpendicular; perpetual; perplex; persecute; persevere; perspective; perspire; persuasion; pertain; peruse; pervade; pervert; pierce; portray; postprandial; prae-; Prakrit; pre-; premier; presbyter; Presbyterian; preterite; pride; priest; primal; primary; primate; primavera; prime; primeval; primitive; primo; primogenitor; primogeniture; primordial; primus; prince; principal; principle; prior; pristine; private; privilege; privy; pro (n.2) "a consideration or argument in favor;" pro-; probably; probe; probity; problem; proceed; proclaim; prodigal; produce; profane; profess; profile; profit; profound; profuse; project; promise; prompt; prone; proof; proper; property; propinquity; prophet; prose; prostate; prosthesis; protagonist; Protean; protect; protein; Proterozoic; protest; proto-; protocol; proton; protoplasm; Protozoa; proud; prove; proverb; provide; provoke; prow; prowess; proximate; Purana; purchase; purdah; reciprocal; rapprochement; reproach; reprove; veneer.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Sanskrit pari "around, about, through," parah "farther, remote, ulterior," pura "formerly, before," pra- "before, forward, forth;" Avestan pairi- "around," paro "before;" Hittite para "outside of," Greek peri "around, about, near, beyond," pera "across, beyond," paros "before," para "from beside, beyond," pro "before;" Latin pro "before, for, on behalf of, instead of," porro "forward," prae "before," per "through;" Old Church Slavonic pra-dedu "great-grandfather;" Russian pere- "through;" Lithuanian per "through;" Old Irish ire "farther," roar "enough;" Gothic faura "before," Old English fore (prep.) "before, in front of," (adv.) "before, previously," fram "forward, from," feor "to a great distance, long ago;" German vor "before, in front of;" Old Irish air- Gothic fair-, German ver-, Old English fer-, intensive prefixes.
"to perfume with burning incense," late 14c., a shortened form of incense (v.2). Related: Censed; censing.
"thing that gives flavor," 1845, originally in cookery, verbal noun from flavor (v.). Middle English flauryng meant "perfume."
"to perfume, render aromatic" (of medicines or the breath), early 15c. (Chauliac), aromatizen, from Latin aromatizare, from Greek aromatizein "to spice," from aromat-, stem of aroma "seasoning, sweet spice," which is of unknown origin. Related: Aromatized; aromatizing.
"to offer incense, perfume with incense, fumigate (something) with incense," late 13c., encensen, incensen, from incense (n.) or from Old French encenser (11c.), or directly from Medieval Latin incensare.
Paris fashion house, founded by Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel (1883-1971), French fashion designer and perfumier, who opened her first shop in 1909. The perfume Chanel No. 5 debuted in 1921.