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From Latin lādanum, from Ancient Greek λήδανον (lḗdanon, gum), from λήδον (lḗdon, rockrose), from a Semitic language; compare Akkadian 𒆷𒁷𒉡 (ladinnu).


labdanum (usually uncountable, plural labdanums)

  1. A sticky brown resin obtained from species of rockrose, used mainly in perfume.
    • 1607, [attributed to Thomas Tomkis], Lingva: Or The Combat of the Tongue, and the Five Senses for Superiority. A Pleasant Comœdie., London: Printed by G[eorge] Eld, for Simon Waterson, OCLC 52434902, Act IV, scene iii:
      Your onely way to make a good pomander, is this. Take an ownce of the pureſt garden mould, clenſed and ſteeped ſeauen daies in change of motherleſſe roſe water, then take the beſt Labdanum, Benioine, both Storaxes, amber greece, and Ciuet, and muſke, incorporate them together, and work them into what form you pleaſe; this, if your breath bee not to valiant, will make you ſmell as ſweete as my Ladies dogge.
    • 1936, Rollo Ahmed, The Black Art, London: Long, page 112:
      Aromatics were used, too, especially in necromancy, and an old recipe of that sort comprises Musk, Myrrh, Frankincense, Red Storax, Mastick, Olibanum, Saffron, Benzoin and Labdanum.
    • 2007 August 26, Chandler Burr, “Back in Print”, in New York Times[1]:
      (A chypre perfume is usually built with oak moss, patchouli and labdanum, an absolute of a dark, thick-smelling Mediterranean bush.)