[poh-poo-ree, poh-poo-ree]
a mixture of dried petals of roses or other flowers with spices, kept in a jar for their fragrance.
a musical medley.
a collection of miscellaneous literary extracts.
any mixture, especially of unrelated objects, subjects, etc.

1605–15; < French: literally, rotten pot, translation of Spanish olla podrida olla podrida; see pot1, putrid

4. melange, pastiche, hodgepodge, mishmash, patchwork.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To potpourri
World English Dictionary
potpourri (ˌpəʊˈpʊərɪ)
n , pl -ris
1.  a collection of mixed flower petals dried and preserved in a pot to scent the air
2.  a collection of unrelated or disparate items; miscellany
3.  a medley of popular tunes
4.  a stew of meat and vegetables
[C18: from French, literally: rotten pot, translation of Spanish olla podrida miscellany]

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

1611, "mixed meats served in a stew," from Fr. pot pourri "stew," lit. "rotten pot" (loan-translation of Sp. olla podrida), from pourri, pp. of pourrir "to rot," from V.L. *putrire, from L. putrescere "grow rotten" (see putrescent). Notion of "medley" led to meaning "mixture
of dried flowers and spices," first recorded in Eng. 1749. Fig. sense (originally in music) of "miscellaneous collection" is recorded from 1855.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


in pottery, a decorative ceramic vessel with a perforated cover originally made to hold a moist mixture of aromatic spices, fruits, and the petals of flowers that was intended to produce a pleasant scent as the mixture mouldered. The vessel was later used for dried spices and petals. Ball-shaped ones, frequently made of metal, are known as pomanders. See also pouncet-box; vinaigrette

Learn more about potpourri with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
The problem is that it is easy to see them as a potpourri of random thoughts.
The park's history is as unique as its potpourri of natural and manmade
Foliage makes a refreshing tea and is also used as a preservative in potpourri.
Speaking of pruning, don't turn your last flush of roses into still another
  batch of potpourri.
Related Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature