She's allergic to perfume? fragrance?

I know people could be allergic to some things, such as peanuts, seafood, or pollen.
And do you say “someone is allergic to perfume”?
Is that weird to say that?

I saw a friend gave a tube of hand cream to her friend because she didn’t like the fragrance.
What she was trying to say was the fragrance was too strong.
Or she is allergic to… Or she just doesn’t like it when people are wearing something that has (strong) fragrance? I’m not sure which is a better way to put it.

Thank you!!

You will usually hear that someone is allergic to perfumes. Perfumes are the substances that are in the hand lotion or other fragrant product. (The non-allergenic kind are generally “fragrance-free,” which means they don’t contain any perfumes.) Fragrance is the aroma (scent or smell) that the perfume gives off, although sometimes these words are used interchangeably, especially in marketing. The new fragrance from L’Oréal. It’s actually a new “perfume,” but the perfume has a fragrance, so it’s both. (Although that’s not entirely true. Even the word ‘perfume,’ referring to the stuff in the spray bottle that you spray on your skin, is a bit of a misnomer, because the substance in the bottle contains a certain percentage of perfumes which give off a fragrance, but the substance itself is not the ‘perfume.’ Just ask any knowledgeable French person.)

She is allergic to perfumes. She doesn’t like it when someone is wearing something that has a strong fragrance (or smell).

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Wow, now I know the second meaning of perfume. I learn something every day here. Thank you so much, brucenator.

By the way, can I ask about the stress of perfume? It is the first syllable or the second one? Or both are okay?

the second one is stressed more than the first im pretty sure

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It depends on where one is from. In the UK, the stress is generally on the 1st syllable; in the US, generally on the 2nd syllable, but it can vary from person to person.

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I got it, thanks, brucenator.

If you dislike the smell of something, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are allergic to it! There are many fragrances that smell too strong - in such case, we might say the scent is “overpowering”. I might give away a perfume to someone else who appreciates the scent/smell if I don’t want to “waste” it by throwing it away, especially if it was expensive.
If the person said she gave it away because she didn’t like the fragrance, then she meant she didn’t like the smell!

On the other hand, if someone was allergic to it, then they would more likely say they were allergic to it! Allergy symptoms include mild to severe headache., skin irritation, itching, and rashes., sneezing, coughing and runny nose, also called allergic rhinitis., breathing difficulties, dizziness, and fatigue, muscle aches., watery, red, and itchy eyes, wheezing etc.

So you see, if you had symptoms like that, you wouldn’t just say you “didn’t like the fragrance”! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: You would say you were allergic to it. Or that you didn’t like it because you were allergic to it.


Thanks a lot!!! Now I know the difference.

Glad you pointed that out, Ozzy! I think I misunderstood the question. I was assuming she was allergic.

lilyyang, if you’re not sure, I think you should politely ask your friend whether she is allergic to perfumes or whether she just didn’t like the smell of the perfume in the hand lotion. I know a couple of people who are allergic and it’s a good thing to be aware of when you’re around them and around others who may not be aware of your friend’s aversion to perfumes.

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True if American. Here in the UK we stress the first syllable, so it depends which version you’re learning. Not sure sure about the rest of the Anglosphere, though I find it difficult to imagine an Australian accent stressing the second syllable.

[Edit: Sorry, I see this was already answered further down. Please ignore]

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