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

1855–60; < Neo-Latin < French citronelle, equivalent to citron citron + -elle diminutive suffix Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
citronella (ˌsɪtrəˈnɛlə)
1.  Also called: citronella grass a tropical Asian grass, Cymbopogon (or Andropogon) nardus, with bluish-green lemon-scented leaves
2.  Also called: citronella oil the yellow aromatic oil obtained from this grass, used in insect repellents, soaps, perfumes, etc
[C19: New Latin, from French citronnelle lemon balm, from citron lemon]

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

1858, from Fr. citronelle "lemon liquor," from citron (see citrus). Originally an Asiatic grass used in perfumes, later applied to a substance found in lemon oil, etc.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
citronella   (sĭt'rə-něl'ə)  Pronunciation Key 
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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The second compound was beta-citronellol, which is found in citronella and repels mosquitoes.
Scatter candles made of natural beeswax or infused with citronella across tabletops for added light and ambience.
Citronella collars give the dog a short burst of citronella near their nose.
They have also tried both citronella spray and a shock collar, all to no avail.
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