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 asafoetida


British Dictionary definitions for asafoetida

asafoetida

asafetida

noun
  1. 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 for asafoetida

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

Word Origin and History for asafoetida
n.

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

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