We have a tendency to use words interchangeably even when they have clear and distinct meanings. That’s okay as it’s part of language. In our business though, the meanings of different words are important. That is why we draw a distinction between four words commonly associated with what we do: fragrance, scent, aroma, and smell.
The point of this post is to simply let you in on the fact that the words mean different things. Note that all the definitions come from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Feel free to look them up at your leisure. The dictionary offers great definitions as well as examples of the words in sentences.
‘Fragrance’ is a word that has been in use since the mid-1600s. It is one of those words that just rolls off the tongue with a sound that really matches its definition. A fragrance is generally “a sweet or delicate odor” or a substance intentionally designed to give off a sweet or pleasant odor, like perfume or cologne.
The common language recognizes a fragrance as something pleasant. More often than not, it is also sweet, yet it doesn’t have to be. If you were to purchase our citrus blend essential oil, you might consider it rather fragrant even though it’s not necessarily sweet. Fragrances do have to be pleasant to be properly defined, though.
The word ‘scent’ is more general in nature. Scent is not a specific kind of odor. Rather, it is the effervescent discharge of those molecules that trigger the human olfactory system. That makes the word more scientific than descriptive.
Let us say you have a pound of limburger cheese and a cup of coffee sitting side-by-side. You smell odors from both because both put off a scent. Their scents are essentially molecules that travel up through your nose to trigger neurotransmitters that tell your brain that you are smelling something.
Moving on, an aroma is an odor that is very distinct and pervasive. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee is a good example. It is so distinct that most people would never confuse it with something else. The same is true for other aromas like that of orange, lilac, etc.
Aroma differs from fragrance because of its distinct nature. You might not be able to pinpoint what a fragrance actually smells like. That’s because it could be any combination of aromas mixed together. On the other hand, an aroma is distinctive enough that you know it when you smell it.
We generally associate aroma with pleasant or savory smells. Again, coffee comes to mind. You might think of freshly baked bread, grilled steak, or something else when you hear the word ‘aroma’. The point is that this word generally has positive connotations. It doesn’t have to though. The aroma of cow manure is pretty distinct, and most people do not find it pleasant.
Last but not least is smell. This word is actually a function rather than a substance. It is a function of the human body connected to the five senses. So while we say a substance has a particular smell, it doesn’t really. It has an odor or an aroma that triggers the sense of smell in our brains.
Now that you know the difference between these four words, you can apply them to the Zephyr Fresh home aroma diffusion system. We trust you will find our essential oils wonderfully fragrant and distinctly aromatic. Whether you choose our essential oils are not, the Zephyr Fresh system will have your home smelling wonderfully day in and day out.