frankincense

[frang-kin-sens]
noun
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; Middle English fraunk encense. See frank1, incense1

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Collins
World English Dictionary
frankincense (ˈfræŋkɪnˌsɛns)
 
n
Also called: olibanum an aromatic gum resin obtained from trees of the burseraceous genus Boswellia, which occur in Asia and Africa
 
[C14: from Old French franc free, pure + encens incense1; see frank]

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

frankincense
late 14c., from O.Fr. franc "noble, true" (see frank), in this case probably signifying "of the highest quality" + encens "incense" (q.v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Easton
Bible Dictionary

Frankincense definition


(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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Example sentences
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.
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