Definition of patchouli in US English:



  • 1An aromatic oil obtained from a Southeast Asian shrub, which is used in perfumery, insecticides, and medicine.

    • ‘Some oils such as patchouli and sandalwood can improve.’
    • ‘The Lavender Aphrodisia soap, a blend of French lavender and Indonesian patchouli essential oils, disappeared quickly at the office.’
    • ‘A good quality patchouli usually costs more than eucalyptus.’
    • ‘Most essential oils are clear, but some oils such as patchouli, orange and lemongrass are amber or yellow in color.’
    • ‘I can hardly look at them without being overwhelmed with a haze of Voodoo Chile, the whiff of patchouli oil, flashes of free festivals and boating on the River Avon.’
    • ‘It showed a remarkable political obtuseness not to recognize that when the base of the party is worked up enough to call and write in record numbers, something is in the air besides the smell of patchouli oil.’
    • ‘You can also add 5 drops of patchouli essential oil, which is a great antimicrobial and deodorant.’
    • ‘It's raining so heavily and the earth smells like patchouli oil which I once despised but since living here it now makes me think of rain and dripping green gardens.’
    • ‘But the chanters wear pinstripes and not patchouli oil.’
    • ‘Given the mission he has taken on, you might expect long hair and patchouli oil, but his compact stature and matinee idol looks are those of a powerful executive or celebrity.’
    • ‘I reason that legions of stoner gimps would weave their way to my house and as my nose is perpetually blocked, I wouldn't be able to detect the telltale stench of patchouli oil.’
    • ‘For a sensuous bath, try sandalwood, rose, ylang-ylang, patchouli, neroli or jasmine.’
    • ‘Complain about how patchouli oil just doesn't smell as good as it used to.’
    • ‘This scrub, brimming with pumice, orange and patchouli oils, will leave your skin feeling fresh and your whole body revitalised.’
    • ‘I'm the one who has to carpool with a guy who drives a VW Beetle and smells like patchouli oil.’
    • ‘Base: green, tea, mate, galbanum, labdanum, tree-moss, patchouli, vetiver, aromatic woods, and hints of powder and gentle spices.’
    • ‘I don't expect us to return wearing kaftans and smothered in patchouli oil - but who knows?’
    • ‘To make your own, add a few drops of a sensual oil like ylang-ylang or patchouli to spray bottle filled with tap or distilled water.’
    • ‘Local people started cutting down forest trees three years ago and planted the lucrative shrubs that produce the fragrant patchouli oil, which is worth Rp 1.2 million per kilogram.’
    • ‘This was like trying to extinguish a burning pile of hair with patchouli oil.’
  • 2The strongly scented shrub of the mint family from which patchouli is obtained.

    Pogostemon cablin, family Labiatae

    • ‘For example, patchouli and thyme have a dark color; lavender has a light, golden hue; and rosemary is clear.’


Mid 19th century: from Tamil pacc̣uli.