[ si-truh-nel-uh ]
/ ˌsɪ trəˈnɛl ə /


a fragrant grass, Cymbopogon nardus, of southern Asia, cultivated as the source of citronella oil.

Origin of citronella

1855–60; < New Latin < French citronelle, equivalent to citron citron + -elle diminutive suffix Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for citronella

British Dictionary definitions for citronella


/ (ˌsɪtrəˈnɛlə) /


Also called: citronella grass a tropical Asian grass, Cymbopogon (or Andropogon) nardus, with bluish-green lemon-scented leaves
Also called: citronella oil the yellow aromatic oil obtained from this grass, used in insect repellents, soaps, perfumes, etc

Word Origin for citronella

C19: New Latin, from French citronnelle lemon balm, from citron lemon
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

Science definitions for citronella


[ sĭt′rə-nĕlə ]

The pale-yellow, lemon-scented oil obtained from the leaves of a tropical Asian grass (Cymbopogon nardus), used in insect repellents and perfumes. Citronella consists primarily of an aldehyde of octane.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.