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[as-uh-fet-i-duh] /ˌæs əˈfɛt ɪ də/
noun, Chemistry.
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, asafoetida, asfetida.
Also called devil's dung, food of the gods.
Origin of asafetida
1350-1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin asafoetida, equivalent to asa (< Persian āzā mastic, gum) + Latin foetida, feminine of foetidus fetid Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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British Dictionary definitions for asafoetida


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
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for asafoetida

alternative spelling of asafetida (q.v.); also see oe.



late 14c., from Medieval Latin asa (Latinized from Persian aza "mastic") + foetida, fem. of foetidus "stinking" (see fetid).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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