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From petr(o)- (prefix meaning ‘of or pertaining to stone’) +‎ ichor ((Greek mythology) liquid that flows in the veins of gods in place of blood), coined by Australian scientist Isabel Joy Bear and British scientist Richard Thomas in their 1964 article “Nature of Argillaceous Odour” published in the journal Nature.[1]



petrichor (uncountable)

  1. The distinctive scent, caused by geosmin, which accompanies the first rain after a long, warm, dry spell.
    • 2010, Val Panesar, For the Sake of the Future:
      Though it had yet to begin raining, the familiar smell of petrichor appeared to be already present and Neelam suddenly wished she was sitting at home with a nice cup of tea and a good book.
  2. The yellow organic oil that yields this scent.
    • 1980, John E Bardach et al., Fish Behavior and its Use in the Capture and Culture of Fishes:
      He hypothesizes that this factor may be petrichor, an oil which has been isolated from silicate minerals and rocks [...].



  1. ^ Isabel Joy Bear; Richard G. Thomas (March 1964), “Nature of Argillaceous Odour”, in Nature, volume 201, issue 4923, Bibcode1964Natur.201..993B, DOI:10.1038/201993a0, pages 993–995.

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