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frankincense

[frang-kin-sens] /ˈfræŋ kɪnˌsɛns/
noun
1.
an aromatic gum resin from various Asian and African trees of the genus Boswellia, especially B. carteri, used chiefly for burning as incense in religious or ceremonial practices, in perfumery, and in pharmaceutical and fumigating preparations.
Also called olibanum.
Origin
1350-1400
1350-1400; Middle English fraunk encense. See frank1, incense1
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for frankincense
  • After breakfast they have water to wash themselves, while their apartments are perfumed with frankincense and lime juice.
  • But the piecemeal efforts to revive ancient trades in frankincense, henna and hides do not begin to make up for livestock.
  • The hostess throws a little frankincense on the coals to produce a heady odor.
  • frankincense is an aromatic resin used in perfumes and incense.
  • Aromatic woods-frankincense and myrrh-from a small and diminishing forest also contribute to the country's exports.
British Dictionary definitions for frankincense

frankincense

/ˈfræŋkɪnˌsɛns/
noun
1.
an aromatic gum resin obtained from trees of the burseraceous genus Boswellia, which occur in Asia and Africa Also called olibanum
Word Origin
C14: from Old French franc free, pure + encens incense1; see frank
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
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Word Origin and History for frankincense
n.

late 14c., apparently from Old French franc encense, from franc "noble, true" (see frank (adj.)), in this case probably signifying "of the highest quality" + encens "incense" (see incense (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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frankincense in the Bible

(Heb. lebonah; Gr. libanos, i.e., "white"), an odorous resin imported from Arabia (Isa. 60:6; Jer. 6:20), yet also growing in Palestine (Cant. 4:14). It was one of the ingredients in the perfume of the sanctuary (Ex. 30:34), and was used as an accompaniment of the meat-offering (Lev. 2:1, 16; 6:15; 24:7). When burnt it emitted a fragrant odour, and hence the incense became a symbol of the Divine name (Mal. 1:11; Cant. 1:3) and an emblem of prayer (Ps. 141:2; Luke 1:10; Rev. 5:8; 8:3). This frankincense, or olibanum, used by the Jews in the temple services is not to be confounded with the frankincense of modern commerce, which is an exudation of the Norway spruce fir, the Pinus abies. It was probably a resin from the Indian tree known to botanists by the name of Boswellia serrata or thurifera, which grows to the height of forty feet.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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