AskDefine | Define pomander

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A mixture of aromatic substances, made into a ball and carried as a protection against infection
  2. An orange, studded with cloves, hung in a wardrobe to provide a sweet smell
  3. A case in which an aromatic ball was carried
  4. A perforated container filled with pot-pourri for placing in a wardrobe etc

Extensive Definition

A pomander, from French pomme d'ambre, i.e. apple of amber, is a ball made of perfumes, such as ambergris (whence the name), musk, or civet. The pomander was worn or carried in a vase, also known by the same name, as a protection against infection in times of pestilence or merely as a useful article to modify bad smells. The globular cases which contained the pomanders were hung from a neck-chain or attached to the girdle, and were usually perforated and made of gold or silver. Sometimes they contained several partitions, in each of which was placed a different perfume. Pomanders were used in the late Middle Ages through the 17th century.
Modern pomanders are made by studding an orange or other fruit with whole dried cloves and letting it cure dry, after which it may last indefinitely. The modern pomander serves the functions of perfuming and freshening the air and of keeping drawers of clothing and linens fresh, pleasant smelling, and moth-free.
Pomanders were usually carried or hung on a belt.


External links

pomander in German: Bisamapfel
pomander in French: Pomander

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

atomizer, censer, fumigator, incense burner, incensory, odorator, odorizer, parfumoir, perfumer, potpourri, pouncet-box, purse atomizer, sachet, scent bag, scent ball, scent bottle, scent box, scenter, smelling bottle, spray, thurible, vinaigrette
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