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[frang-kin-sens] /ˈfræŋ kɪnˌsɛns/
an aromatic gum resin from various Asian and African trees of the genus Boswellia, especially B. carteri, used chiefly for burning as incense in religious or ceremonial practices, in perfumery, and in pharmaceutical and fumigating preparations.
Also called olibanum.
Origin of frankincense
First recorded in 1350-1400, frankincense is from the Middle English word fraunk encense. See frank1, incense1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for frankincense
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The tree was the frankincense, or loblolly pine (Pinus toeda).

    The Quadroon Mayne Reid
  • Finally, the Arabians brought a thousand talents of frankincense every year.

  • The air was cloudy with the breath of frankincense and myrrh.

    Fairy Book Sophie May
  • I must lay my treasures at His feet, “gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”

  • Opening their treasures they presented to him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

    The Children's Bible Henry A. Sherman
  • He thinks it must be for frankincense, but I think it must have been for some liquid.

    Southern Arabia Theodore Bent
  • If she had had spices and frankincense, Sabine Bob would have offered it, on her knees.

    Cape Breton Tales Harry James Smith
British Dictionary definitions for frankincense


an aromatic gum resin obtained from trees of the burseraceous genus Boswellia, which occur in Asia and Africa Also called olibanum
Word Origin
C14: from Old French franc free, pure + encens incense1; see frank
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 frankincense

late 14c., apparently from Old French franc encense, from franc "noble, true" (see frank (adj.)), in this case probably signifying "of the highest quality" + encens "incense" (see incense (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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