"Fumo" means "I smoke, steam or fume". But is there a word which indicates a thinner smoke or fume rises from me?

I'm looking for a word that incense could say about itself.


This may not be perfect, but consider the verb vaporo as an alternative to fumo. Comparing the underlying nouns vapor and fumus suggests that it is in the right direction.

One option to consider is using an adjective or an adverb. I think tenuis is a suitable word for "thin" in the context of smoke. The corresponding adverb is tenuiter, "thinly".

This makes me suggest:

Tenuiter fumo. — I smoke thinly.
Tenuis fumo. — I am thin (masculine or feminine) and I smoke.

You can also use vaporo together with tenuis, but for some reason that sounds a bit off to me.

  • 2
    A great example from the Georgica uses tenuis along with volucris as an adjective: "Quae tenuem exhalat nebulam fumosque volucris"
    – brianpck
    Dec 20 '16 at 20:20
  • 1
    'presserat ora vapour' - Ovid II 283 - the hot smoke was choking her;
    – Aili J.
    Dec 21 '16 at 9:35
  • 2
    and another passage from Ovid Metamorphoses IV ,434- 'Styx nebulas exhalat iners '- "The sluggish Styx there exhales its vaporous breath"
    – Aili J.
    Dec 21 '16 at 9:39
  • 2
    and slightly different option - 'largis satiantur odoribus ignes' - "the fires are fed full with incense rich and fragrant" Ovid IV 759; so perhaps 'odoro' is suitable for incense
    – Aili J.
    Dec 21 '16 at 10:21

Fumo, -are is a general word for something that is causing smoke or steam.

I cannot find a specialized word that refers to "thin smoke," but one alternative for incense is cremo, -are ("to burn, consume by fire"), which can be used in the passive for something that is being consumed. Here is an example of this usage in a traditional blessing of incense in the Roman Rite:

Ab illo benedicaris, in cuius honore cremaberis.

May you be blessed by him in whose honor you will be burned.

Incensum crematur seems to evoke the idea you are looking for.


Not a single word, but a relevant passage from Ovid Metamorphoses 1.569-72:

...per quae Peneos ab imo
effusus Pindo spumosis volvitur undis,
deiectuque gravi tenues agitantia fumos
nubila conducit...

"...through which Peneus, flowing out from the base of Pindus, rolls with foamy waves, and in its heavy descent gathers clouds that stir up thin mists..."

  • Just wonderful! Dec 22 '16 at 11:27
  • I posted about this passage!
    – ktm5124
    Jan 2 '17 at 8:00

L&S gives the noun nidor, -oris:

m. cf. Gr. κνίσσα for κνιδια, a vapor, steam, smell, from any thing boiled, roasted, burned, etc.: nidoris odores, Lucr 6, 987: galbaneus, Verg. G. 3, 415: pinguescant madidi laeto nidore Penates, Mart. 7, 27, 5; Plin. 24, 15, 85, § 135: nocturnumque recens exstinctum lumen ubi acri Nidore offendit nares, Lucr. 6, 792: ganearum nidor atque fumus, Cic. Pis. 6, 13: foedus quidam nidor ex adustā plumā, Liv. 38, 7; Plin. 13, 1, 1, § 2: captus nidore culinae, Juv. 5, 162: nidor e culinā, said of a slave who hangs constantly about the kitchen, a fume of the kitchen, kitchen-companion, Plaut. Most. 1, 1, 5.

So that seems like a possible option, especially as it also has the associated verb nidoro, -are.

Though I also feel like there's got to be a reference to burning incense somewhere in the centuries of Church Latin. Unfortunately, I don't know that corpus—but to be honest I wouldn't be surprised if the verb the Church uses were fumo.

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