Definition of pomander in English:



  • 1A ball or perforated container of sweet-smelling substances such as herbs and spices, placed in a closet, drawer, or room to perfume the air or (formerly) carried as a supposed protection against infection.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She had no desire for the pomander, and did not know why she had bought it.’
    • ‘The other bridesmaids wore burnt orange dresses and carried pomanders of fresh black-eyed cream germinis.’
    • ‘My younger sister put it better after arriving back from school at Christmas, clutching a pomander that she's made herself.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A silver chain hugged the swell of her hips, holding the long chain of her pomander and her string of prayer beads.’
    • ‘‘The laws of consanguinity have always been more lax there,’ Valerian explained, cupping her lavender filled pomander in her lap.’
    • ‘The younger bridesmaids wore pale lilac shimmer satin dresses with cream embroidered bodices, and carried pomanders of lilac and cream flowers.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1A piece of fruit, typically an orange or apple, studded with cloves and hung in a closet by a ribbon for a similar purpose.
      • ‘They were small ‘sacks’ containing pomanders, flint and money and were known as ‘pockets’.’
      • ‘Push cloves into oranges to make aromatic pomanders to place in bowls or hang from the tree.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Blue Peter recommends sticking them into oranges to form a pomander, an archaic device to keep linen clothes fresh and sweet-smelling.’
      • ‘Ladies first had small sack handbags that contained pomanders (scented oranges).’
      • ‘Green Fairy on the insanity of pre-Christmas school rituals - Christingles, although I'm sure they were called pomanders.’


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