1 [in-sens]
an aromatic gum or other substance producing a sweet odor when burned, used in religious ceremonies, to enhance a mood, etc.
the perfume or smoke arising from such a substance when burned.
any pleasant perfume or fragrance.
homage or adulation.
verb (used with object), incensed, incensing.
to perfume with incense.
to burn incense for.
verb (used without object), incensed, incensing.
to burn or offer incense.

1250–1300; Middle English < Late Latin incēnsum, literally, something kindled, neuter of incēnsus (past participle of incendere to set on fire), equivalent to incend- (see incendiary) + -tus past participle suffix; replacing Middle English ansens, ensenz < Old French < Late Latin as above Unabridged


2 [in-sens]
verb (used with object), incensed, incensing.
to inflame with wrath; make angry; enrage.

1400–50; late Middle English incensen < Latin incēnsus (see incense1); replacing Middle English encensen < Anglo-French < Latin, as above

incensement, noun

anger, exasperate, provoke, irritate. See enrage. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
incense1 (ˈɪnsɛns)
1.  any of various aromatic substances burnt for their fragrant odour, esp in religious ceremonies
2.  the odour or smoke so produced
3.  any pleasant fragrant odour; aroma
4.  rare homage or adulation
5.  to burn incense in honour of (a deity)
6.  (tr) to perfume or fumigate with incense
[C13: from Old French encens, from Church Latin incensum, from Latin incendere to kindle]

incense2 (ɪnˈsɛns)
(tr) to enrage greatly
[C15: from Latin incensus set on fire, from incendere to kindle]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

late 13c., from O.Fr. encens "sweet-smelling substance," from L.L. incensum (nom. incensus) "burnt incense," lit. "something burnt," neut. pp. of L. incendere "set on fire," from in- "in" + *candere "to set alight" (see incendiary).

"make angry," 1435, from M.Fr. incenser, from L. incensare, freq. of L. incendere "set on fire" (see incense (n.)). A figurative use of the word used literally in incense (n.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Bible Dictionary

Incense definition

a fragrant composition prepared by the "art of the apothecary." It consisted of four ingredients "beaten small" (Ex. 30:34-36). That which was not thus prepared was called "strange incense" (30:9). It was offered along with every meat-offering; and besides was daily offered on the golden altar in the holy place, and on the great day of atonement was burnt by the high priest in the holy of holies (30:7, 8). It was the symbol of prayer (Ps. 141:1,2; Rev. 5:8; 8:3, 4).

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Example sentences
Thick gray smoke and the smell of burning incense would have filled the air.
The teacher flashes a small laser beam though smoke wafting up from a stick of
Incense is a material that creates a smell when it is burned.
Among offences against the senses, scents are not the only ones to incense.
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