Cologne in American English {Perfume Words & Vocabulary}


Can you smell what The Rock is cooking with this word "cologne"?

"Cologne", derived from the French phrase "eau de cologne", is the word American English has come up with to designate almost exclusively perfume worn by men, not by women, in opposition to "perfume" and "fragrance" which are considered to sound too effeminate...

If you can pronounce "cologne" instead of "perfume" when explaining "I'm wearing a cologne" or asking "What's that cologne you're wearing?" it makes it a safe social space devoted to men's grooming, not to anything more ambiguous. In fact, the association of "perfume" with homosexuality, in heterosexual mainstream minds is so strong, that it was used in a movie line about moonshiners as denoting both moral depravity and sexual ambiguity.

You won't find the word in the Bible when it mentions perfume, but it's the manly way to scent yourself in America.

Image source: The Rock Smelling Meme Generator

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