Incense means both "to make angry" and a stick that burns slowly and emits a strong smell. If your new college roommate burns incense in your tiny dorm room, you might get incensed and storm out.

How can a word that means a substance that is burned for its sweet odor come to mean "make very angry"? Both have to do with the idea of burning, and the Latin root incendere, "to set on fire." A stick of incense must be lit, or set on fire to release its smell. When you are incensed by something, such as your teacher slamming you with homework on the night of the prom, you feel like you are burning with anger.

Primary Meanings of incense

make furious
a substance that produces a fragrant odor when burned
perfume especially with a censer
Full Definitions of incense

v make furious

exasperate, infuriate
Type of:
make angry

n a substance that produces a fragrant odor when burned

joss stick
a slender stick of incense burned before a joss by the Chinese
Type of:
chemical compound, compound
(chemistry) a substance formed by chemical union of two or more elements or ingredients in definite proportion by weight

n the pleasing scent produced when incense is burned

incense filled the room”
Type of:
aroma, fragrance, perfume, scent
a distinctive odor that is pleasant

v perfume especially with a censer

cense, thurify
Type of:
odorize, odourise, scent
cause to smell or be smelly

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