asafetida

[as-uh-fet-i-duh]
noun Chemistry.
  1. 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

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Historical Examples of asafetida


Word Origin and History for asafetida
n.

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper