• synonyms


or pach·ou·li, patch·ou·ly

[pach-oo-lee, puh-choo-lee]
  1. a plant, Pogostemon cablin, of tropical Asia, that yields a fragrant oil (patchouli oil) used in the manufacture of perfumes.
  2. a penetrating perfume made from this oil.
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Origin of patchouli

First recorded in 1835–45, patchouli is from the Tamil word paccuḷi
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for patchouli


pachouli or patchouly

  1. any of several Asiatic trees of the genus Pogostemon, the leaves of which yield a heavy fragrant oil: family Lamiaceae (labiates)
  2. the perfume made from this oil
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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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper