from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The root of several European species of Iris, chiefly I. florentina. See Iris, 8.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


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  • There was the muted click of high heels on the parquet of the floor -- Caris remembered, half-dreaming, that the Regent walked very quietly -- and the overwhelming waft of orris-root perfume.

    The Silicon Mage

  • They should be placed in jars with dried lavender, cloves, woodruff leaves, orris-root, musk, pimento, and gums; a little salt must be added, and the ingredients stirred.

    The Girl's Own Paper, Vol. VIII. No. 358, November 6, 1886.

  • A delightful warmth met me face to face, and I breathed a vague perfume of violets and orris-root, or something akin, with which the air of the room was laden.

    The French Immortals Series — Complete

  • Napkins, when laid away in a chest or drawer, should have some pleasant, cleanly herb like lavender or sweet-grass, or the old - fashioned clover, or bags of Oriental orris-root, put between them, that they may come to the table smelling of these delicious scents.

    Manners and Social Usages

  • A long cigarette holder between her thin lips, one putty-colored lisle stocking showing to the knee, she exhaled, together with an odor of Florentine orris-root, a ruthless vigor and appetency for pleasure.


  • A white dust -- tremulous cloud of orris-root it seemed -- hung in the panting air.

    The Picture of Dorian Gray

  • The faint odour of orris-root that floated forth as I let down the flap, seemed to identify itself with the yellows and browns of the old wood, till hue and scent were of one quality and interchangeable.

    The Golden Age

  • She had a face like a silkworm, and the dining - room reeks of orris-root.

    Howards End

  • And once more did he hear voices, and they were passing sweet; and with them came a fragrance as of crushed herbs, and many kinds of flowers, and frankincense, and orris-root; and Hilarion shook, for he feared lest it be the heathen gods, Mercury, or Macomet, or Apollinis.

    In the Yule-Log Glow, Book II Christmas Tales from 'Round the World

  • Irone, which has the perfume of violets, was isolated in 1893 from a ketone contained in orris-root; and ionone, another ketone which has a very closely similar odor of fresh violets and was isolated after some years 'further work, is largely used in the preparation of violet perfume.

    Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 4 Sexual Selection In Man


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  • "And the room was prolonged in depth by two closets as wide as itself, one of which had hanging from its wall, to scent the occasion on which one had recourse to it, a voluptuous rosary of orris-roots; the doors, if I left them open when I withdrew into this innermost retreat, were not content with tripling its dimensions without spoiling its harmonious proportions, and not only allowed my eyes to enjoy the delights of extension after those of concentration, but added further to the pleasure of my solitude—which, while still inviolable, was no longer shut in—the sense of liberty."

    --The Guermantes Way by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, Revised by D.J. Enright, p 104 of the Modern Library paperback edition

    August 4, 2008

  • See also orris root.

    August 4, 2008