A scented liquid made of alcohol and various fragrant oils. Also called eau de cologne.
Origin: Short for cologne (water), translation of French (eau de) Cologne, after Cologne.
Word History: The word cologne, denoting toilet water, is from Cologne, the French (and English) name of the German city Kln, where cologne has been made since the beginning of the 18th century. The first use of cologne for toilet water is recorded in English in 1814, with the word being used in the compound cologne water, a translation of eau de Cologne, the French name for this liquid. The ultimate source of the word lies in the history of the city, which stretches back to the Roman Empire: its Latin name was Colōnia, meaning “colony.”
A city of western Germany on the Rhine River north of Bonn. It was a Roman settlement called Colonia Agrippina after A.D. 50 and passed under Frankish control in the 5th century. During the 15th century it flourished as a member of the Hanseatic League. Population: 990,000.