asafetida

[as-uh-fet-i-duh]
noun Chemistry.
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, asafoetida, asfetida.
Also called devil's dung, food of the gods.


Origin:
1350–1400; Middle English < Medieval Latin asafoetida, equivalent to asa (< Persian āzā mastic, gum) + Latin foetida, feminine of foetidus fetid

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World English Dictionary
asafoetida or asafetida (ˌæsəˈfɛtɪdə)
 
n
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
 
[C14: from Medieval Latin, from asa gum (compare Persian azā mastic) + Latin foetidus evil-smelling, fetid]
 
asafetida or asafetida
 
n
 
[C14: from Medieval Latin, from asa gum (compare Persian azā mastic) + Latin foetidus evil-smelling, fetid]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

asafetida
late 14c., from M.L. asa (Latinized from Pers. aza "mastic") + foetida, fem. of foetidus "stinking" (see fetid).

asafoetida
alt. spelling of asafetida (q.v.); also see oe.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
For instance obstreperous high school pupils receive a spoonful of asafoetida as a corrective.
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