- a soft, brown, lumpy gum resin having a bitter, acrid taste and an obnoxious odor, obtained from the roots of several Near Eastern plants belonging to the genus Ferula, of the parsley family: formerly used in medicine as a carminative and antispasmodic.
Also a·sa·foet·i·da, asfetida.
Origin of asafetida
1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin asafoetida, equivalent to asa (< Persian āzā mastic, gum) + Latin foetida, feminine of foetidus fetid
Also called devil's dung, food of the gods.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for asafoetida
Other products are manna, suffron, asafoetida and other gums.
Everything was running over with wine, truffles, and asafoetida.Salammbo
He reproached himself for having brought neither camphor nor asafoetida, to administer with the corn-brandy.Feats on the Fiord
Saffron, asafoetida, and the gum ammoniac plant, are indigenous in parts of it.
It is generally a greasy stew of mutton, soaked with rancid butter and saffron, and seasoned with asafoetida.Mogreb-el-Acksa
R. B. Cunninghame Graham
- a bitter resin with an unpleasant onion-like smell, obtained from the roots of some umbelliferous plants of the genus Ferula: formerly used as a carminative, antispasmodic, and expectorant
C14: from Medieval Latin, from asa gum (compare Persian azā mastic) + Latin foetidus evil-smelling, fetid
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Word Origin and History for asafoetida
late 14c., from Medieval Latin asa (Latinized from Persian aza "mastic") + foetida, fem. of foetidus "stinking" (see fetid).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper