This time of year, I do a fair amount of baking–love a little added warmth in the kitchen! And I have to say, one of my favorite things to bake is bread. I love the process of making it–kneading the dough, finding that perfect texture and moisture level, then letting it rise…there’s just something lovely about it. And if there’s anything better than the smell of baking bread, I’ve never discovered it!
But I’d never paused to wonder about the word I use for that–aroma. High time I looked it up!
Aroma entered the English language in the 1200s, and while it did mean something “sweet-smelling,” it also applied specifically to spices. This is because, though the Latin word just means “a pleasant smell,” the Latin is actually borrowed straight from the Greek–in which, it didn’t just mean a fragrance. It did actually mean, specifically, “seasoning; a spice or sweet herb.”
So while today we might use the word for anything that smells–pleasant or not–it has a very particular root! Not just a smell, not just a pleasant smell, but one that comes from spices or seasoning.
What are some of your favorite aromas?