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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ For meditation, yoga or for a philosophical discussion, try a blend of frankincense, myrrh and cedarwood.
▪ Just before the sword would strike Smryna, Aphrodite changes her into a myrrh tree.
▪ The poem is deliberately unconventional: no mention of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
The Collaborative International Dictionary

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 valued for its odor and for its medicinal properties. It exudes from the bark of a shrub of Abyssinia and Arabia, the Commiphora Myrrha (syn. Balsamodendron Myrrha) of the family Burseraceae, or from the Commiphora abyssinica. The myrrh of the Bible is supposed to have been partly the gum above named, and partly the exudation of species of Cistus, or rockrose.

False myrrh. See the Note under Bdellium.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

Old English myrre, from Latin myrrha (also source of Dutch mirre, German Myrrhe, French myrrhe, Italian, Spanish mirra), from Greek myrrha, from a Semitic source (compare Akkadian murru, Hebrew mor, Arabic murr "myrrh"), from a root meaning "was bitter."


n. (context uncountable English) A red-brown resinous material, the dried sap of a tree of the species ''Commiphora myrrha''.

  1. n. aromatic resin used in perfume and incense [syn: gum myrrh, sweet cicely]

  2. aromatic resin burned as incense and used in perfume [syn: gum myrrh]


Myrrh from the Hebrew '"מור"' ("mor") and Arabic مر (mur) is the aromatic resin of a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora, which is an essential oil termed an oleoresin. Myrrh resin is a natural gum. It has been used throughout history as a perfume, incense and medicine. Myrrh mixed with wine can also be ingested.

When a tree wound penetrates through the bark and into the sapwood, the tree bleeds a resin. Myrrh gum, like frankincense, is such a resin. When people harvest myrrh, they wound the trees repeatedly to bleed them of the gum. Myrrh gum is waxy and coagulates quickly. After the harvest, the gum becomes hard and glossy. The gum is yellowish and may be either clear or opaque. It darkens deeply as it ages, and white streaks emerge.

Myrrh gum is commonly harvested from the species Commiphora myrrha, which is native to Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea and eastern Ethiopia. Another commonly used name, Commiphora molmol, is now considered a synonym of Commiphora myrrha. The related Commiphora gileadensis, native to Eastern Mediterranean and particularly the Arabian Peninsula, is the biblically referenced Balm of Gilead, also known as Balsam of Mecca. Several other species yield bdellium and Indian myrrh.

The oleo gum resins of a number of other Commiphora species are also used as perfumes, medicines (such as aromatic wound dressings), and incense ingredients. These myrrh-like resins are known as opopanax, balsam, bdellium, guggul and bisabol.

Fragrant "myrrh beads" are made from the crushed seeds of Detarium microcarpum, an unrelated West African tree. These beads are traditionally worn by married women in Mali as multiple strands around the hips.

The name "myrrh" is also applied to the potherb Myrrhis odorata, otherwise known as " cicely" or "sweet cicely".

In numerous places in the Old Testament, such as Genesis 37:25 and Exodus 30:23, myrrh is mentioned as a rare perfume with intoxicating qualities.

Myrrh is also mentioned in the New Testament as one of the three gifts the magi presented to the Christ Child . Myrrh was also present at Jesus's death and burial. Jesus was offered wine and myrrh before the crucifixion . Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea brought a 100-pound mixture of myrrh and aloes to wrap Jesus' body .

Myrrh (album)

Myrrh is a folk album and the solo debut of Robin Williamson, released in 1972. Robin Williamson is noted as being a founding member of The Incredible String Band. Myrrh was subjected to a low budget and placed on the Island label's lowest sub-label, Help. The album was downgraded by poor-quality sound mixing and a single-sleeve cover design.

As 1971 came to a close, it was evident that The Incredible String Band was dwelling into commercial-orientated rock. Williamson was the second member, the other being Mike Heron, to release a solo album. This album is composed of folk songs that are enriched with instrumentals. In many ways it is relatable to The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter. For one, the tracks offer a noble dreams ape with an added effect by the multiple personnel involved in vocal harmonies (including ISB members Licorice McKechnie and Malcolm Le Maistre). They are border lined by bass and drumming. It also contains Williamson's most extraordinary vocal performances.

Myrrh sold to a larger audience than expected thanks to cheap cost and the Island label that Williamson was signed under. This album was generally favored thanks to its return to the folk sound fans were so familiar with.

Usage examples of "myrrh".

Some of them sell galbanum and nard, and curious perfumes from the islands of the Indian Sea, and the thick oil of red roses, and myrrh and little nail-shaped cloves.

Perhaps he had dealt in myrrh and spicery from Gilead, and, being honest and unworldly, had fallen amongst thieves himself, and lost all he had.

One hundred of the many hundreds of litters piled with frankincense, myrrh, nard and other costly, burnable aromatics were stacked as a fence between the back row of chariots and the crowd, with shoulder-to-shoulder soldiers as an additional barrier.

The rich, resiny scent of frankincense and myrrh calmed him with familiar memories.

For instance, did you know Master Cung managed to bamboozle three hundred armfuls of silk, a skepful of Sui dynasty myrrh, twenty golden flagons of rice wine, forty she goats and thirty pheasants from the Chinese?

According to sources close to the Phoenix, it took almost two years of appeals before special permits were issued to procure the plant matter, and the avionid took delivery of the necessary spikenard and myrrh just yesterday.

The grass was beflowered with open blossoms, incense sweet as myrrh pervaded upland and forest, birds sang on the mountain top, and all gave thanks to the great God.

Her hair was freshly braided into cornrows with pearls and silver beads that jarred musically when she moved, and perfumed with myrrh for a resinous, woodsy smell.

As, cautiously, the puppets port him down the aisle between the ribbed pews, they are assailed by the delicate aromas of frankincense, ambrosia, and myrrh, along with something headier, reminiscent of the sweet decay of wens and bogs, which may be the odor of the throbbing music.

Indian spikenard and the stinging pungency of myrrh, opoponax ,and ihlang-ylang.

They grew in abundance here, coriander, myrrh and rosemary for their antiseptic properties, balm and catnip for digestion, passionflower to sedate the senses, ginseng root to achieve the opposite effect.

Lucharitse Street, would pick up her porcelain pipe, fill it with the yellowest tobacco, which had been kept in raisins over the winter, light it with a lump of myrrh or a pine splinter from the island of Lastovo, give a silver coin to a boy from the Stradun, and send the lighted pipe to Samuel Cohen in prison.

One hundred of the many hundreds of litters piled with frankincense, myrrh, nard and other costly, burnable aromatics were stacked as a fence between the back row of chariots and the crowd, with shoulder-to-shoulder soldiers as an additional barrier.

Or nasty pathics smelling of myrrh: you know how I loathe frogs and pathics.

Among other things, I ordered a piece, from twenty to thirty yards long, of white linen, thread, scissors, needles, storax, myrrh, sulphur, olive oil, camphor, one ream of paper, pens and ink, twelve sheets of parchment, brushes, and a branch of olive tree to make a stick of eighteen inches in length.