frankincense

Frankincense is a substance valued for its fragrant smell. While frankincense may make you think of Christmas and the three wise men, it has been used in a variety of cultures, contexts, and religions.

Frankincense comes from the gum of a Middle Eastern tree. So does myrrh, the other offering made to Jesus in the Nativity story, which is where you are most likely to have heard of frankincense. Frankincense has been used in several religious traditions, including that of the ancient Egyptians. The first part of this word is related to the modern adjective frank, which means “direct and unreserved.”

Definitions of frankincense
  1. noun
    an aromatic gum resin obtained from various Arabian or East African trees; formerly valued for worship and for embalming and fumigation
    synonyms: gum olibanum, olibanum, thus
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    type of:
    gum
    any of various substances (soluble in water) that exude from certain plants; they are gelatinous when moist but harden on drying
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