Definition of pomander in English:


Pronunciation: /ˈpɒməndə//pəˈmandə/


  • 1A ball or perforated container of aromatic substances, placed in a cupboard or room to perfume the air or (formerly) carried as a supposed protection against infection.

    • ‘She had no desire for the pomander, and did not know why she had bought it.’
    • ‘My younger sister put it better after arriving back from school at Christmas, clutching a pomander that she's made herself.’
    • ‘Sugar surveys the great lake of lavender before her, and measures it against a pomander of petals such as she might be able to hold in her hand.’
    • ‘In the sixteenth century, chatelaines included a variety of attachments such as keys, knives, pouches, rosaries, pomanders, books of hours, and mirrors.’
    • ‘There will be guided tours of the hall by guides in period costume and visitors will be able to make such things as pomanders, scent bags and butter.’
    • ‘The other bridesmaids wore burnt orange dresses and carried pomanders of fresh black-eyed cream germinis.’
    • ‘So do flasks, used for a variety of purposes, including to hold perfume, which could also be dispensed in the popular ball-shaped pomanders (pommes d' ambre) and musk-balls.’
    • ‘‘The laws of consanguinity have always been more lax there,’ Valerian explained, cupping her lavender filled pomander in her lap.’
    • ‘The pomander - a small perforated container filled with spices and herbs and worn on the body - was meant to provide a continuous fragrant shield against disease.’
    • ‘A silver chain hugged the swell of her hips, holding the long chain of her pomander and her string of prayer beads.’
    • ‘The younger bridesmaids wore pale lilac shimmer satin dresses with cream embroidered bodices, and carried pomanders of lilac and cream flowers.’
    1. 1.1A piece of fruit, typically an orange, studded with cloves and hung in a wardrobe to perfume it.
      • ‘To tie everything together, choose flowers in colors that coordinate with your other decorations - here, the apricot-colored rose echoes a dried orange pomander set in a pot with a tiny evergreen tree.’
      • ‘Push cloves into oranges to make aromatic pomanders to place in bowls or hang from the tree.’
      • ‘Green Fairy on the insanity of pre-Christmas school rituals - Christingles, although I'm sure they were called pomanders.’
      • ‘They were small ‘sacks’ containing pomanders, flint and money and were known as ‘pockets’.’
      • ‘You have now finished making your pomander, and should now leave it on a windowsill in an erratically heated room for at least a fortnight.’
      • ‘Ladies first had small sack handbags that contained pomanders (scented oranges).’
      • ‘Blue Peter recommends sticking them into oranges to form a pomander, an archaic device to keep linen clothes fresh and sweet-smelling.’


Late 15th century: from Old French pome d'embre, from medieval Latin pomum de ambra apple of ambergris.