myrrh

myrrh
myrrhed, adj.myrrhic, adj.
/merr/, n.
an aromatic resinous exudation from certain plants of the genus Myrrhis, esp. M. odorata, a small spiny tree: used for incense, perfume, etc.
[bef. 900; ME, OE myrre < L myrrha < Gk mýrra Akkadian murru; akin to Heb mor, Ar murr]

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      (from Arabic murr, “bitter”), bitter-tasting, agreeably aromatic, yellow to reddish brown oleoresinous gum obtained from various small, thorny, flowering trees of the genus Commiphora, of the incense-tree family (Burseraceae). The two main varieties of myrrh are herabol and bisabol. Herabol myrrh is obtained from C. myrrha, which grows in Ethiopia, Arabia, and Somalia, while bisabol myrrh is obtained from C. erythraea, which is an Arabian species of similar appearance. Myrrh trees are found on parched rocky hills and grow up to 3 m (9 feet) tall.

      Myrrh was highly esteemed by the ancients; in the Middle East and Mediterranean regions, it was an ingredient of costly incenses, perfumes, and cosmetics and was used in medicines for local applications and in embalming. In medieval Europe myrrh was also regarded as rare and precious; but in modern commerce it is of trifling value. Modern uses are chiefly as an ingredient in dentifrices, perfumes, and stimulating tonics and as a protective agent in pharmaceuticals. Myrrh has slight antiseptic, astringent, and carminative properties and has been employed medically as a carminative and in tinctures to relieve sore gums and mouth. An essential oil distilled from myrrh is a constituent of certain heavy perfumes.

      Myrrh exudes as a fluid from resin ducts in the tree bark when the bark splits naturally or is cut in tapping. Upon exposure to air, myrrh hardens slowly into globules and irregular lumps called tears, which are then collected from the trees.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • Myrrh — Myrrh, n. [OE. mirre, OF. mirre, F. myrrhe, L. myrrha, murra, Gr. ?; cf. Ar. murr bitter, also myrrh, Heb. mar bitter.] A gum resin, usually of a yellowish brown or amber color, of an aromatic odor, and a bitter, slightly pungent taste. It is… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • myrrh|y — «MUR ee», adjective. full of myrrh; fragrant with or as if with myrrh: »the myrrhy lands (Robert Browning) …   Useful english dictionary

  • myrrh — (n.) O.E. myrre, from L. myrrha (also source of Du. mirre, Ger. Myrrhe, Fr. myrrhe, It., Sp. mirra), from Gk. myrrha, from a Semitic source (Cf. Akkadian murru, Hebrew mor, Arabic murr myrrh ), from a root meaning was bitter …   Etymology dictionary

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  • myrrh — [mʉr] n. [ME mirre < OE myrre & OFr mirre, both < L myrrha < Gr < Ar murr, myrrh, bitter] 1. a fragrant, bitter tasting gum resin exuded from any of several plants of Arabia and E Africa, used in making incense, perfume, etc. 2. any… …   English World dictionary

  • Myrrh — MYRRH, æ, sieh Smyrna …   Gründliches mythologisches Lexikon

  • myrrh — [mə: US mə:r] n [U] [Date: 800 900; : Latin; Origin: myrrha, from Greek] a substance that comes from trees and is used for making ↑perfume and ↑incense …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • myrrh — [ mɜr ] noun uncount a sticky brown substance with a sweet smell used for making PERFUME, INCENSE, and medicine …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • myrrh — ► NOUN ▪ a fragrant gum resin obtained from certain trees and used in perfumery, medicines, and incense. ORIGIN Greek murra, of Semitic origin …   English terms dictionary

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