- any of a class of volatile oils obtained from plants, possessing the odor and other characteristic properties of the plant, used chiefly in the manufacture of perfumes, flavors, and pharmaceuticals.
Origin of essential oil
First recorded in 1665–75
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- A volatile oil, usually having the characteristic odor or flavor of the plant from which it is obtained, used to make perfumes and flavorings.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
- Any of various volatile liquids, such as rose oil or lavender oil, that have a characteristic odor and are produced by plants. Essential oils are composed primarily of terpenes and of lesser quantities of alcohols, aldehydes, esters, phenols, and other compounds that impart particular odors or flavors. They are used to make perfumes, soaps, flavorings, and other products.
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