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90s Slang You Should Know


or pachouli, patchouly

[pach-oo-lee, puh-choo-lee] /ˈpætʃ ʊ li, pəˈtʃu li/
a plant, Pogostemon cablin, of tropical Asia, that yields a fragrant oil (patchouli oil) used in the manufacture of perfumes.
a penetrating perfume made from this oil.
Origin of patchouli
First recorded in 1835-45, patchouli is from the Tamil word paccuḷi Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for patchouli
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She leant forward and I was all but stifled with the stale odour of the patchouli with which her faded body was drenched.

    The Man with the Clubfoot Valentine Williams
  • Through the air was wafted the cheap and stifling scent of patchouli.

    The Convert Elizabeth Robins
  • Have another cigarette, and spray some patchouli about the room.

    Adrien Leroy Charles Garvice
  • She filled the hall with her patchouli and shrill vivacity, and presently was gone.

    My Little Sister Elizabeth Robins
  • Your remarks remind me of the morning odour of patchouli and stale smoke in a cheap Quartier Latin dancing-room.

    Mysterious Mr. Sabin E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • He backed 'The patchouli Girl,' and in that shining garden he got stung.

    The Summons A.E.W. Mason
  • The first thing that struck him on entering was the scent of patchouli, always distasteful to him.

    The World's Greatest Books, Vol VIII Arthur Mee and J.A. Hammerton, Eds.
  • A man went her bail, and she flounced out in a cloud of patchouli.

    Bambi Marjorie Benton Cooke
  • She was "not strong enough to stand the patchouli," so she missed the great moment of the final trying on.

    My Little Sister Elizabeth Robins
British Dictionary definitions for patchouli


/ˈpætʃʊlɪ; pəˈtʃuːlɪ/
any of several Asiatic trees of the genus Pogostemon, the leaves of which yield a heavy fragrant oil: family Lamiaceae (labiates)
the perfume made from this oil
Word Origin
C19: from Tamil paccilai, from paccu green + ilai leaf
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 patchouli

perfume made from an Indian plant of the mint family, 1845, from the native name for the plant in Madras, said to be from Tamil pachchai "green" + ilai "leaf." The form of the word appears French, but this has not been explained and the record of it in English predates that in French.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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