What are the ways in which the word petrichor which means scent of the rain, might be used? Can we use a phrase like "the pleasant petrichor"?


I found this sentence in World Wide Words "Besides the pleasant, dewy petrichor of the post-rain afternoon, I see no hope or way out of a four-hour ride with the enigmatic mumbler." http://www.worldwidewords.org/weirdwords/ww-pet2.htm

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This is from the OED:

"First there is petrichor, the dry smell of unbaked clay, from the Greek for ‘stone-essence’." (L. Forbes, 1999)

It was coined in 1964 out of petro- and ichor. It isn't so much the scent of rainfall as it is the scent produced when rain falls on rock/ground, or the scent "the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather". (The smell of wet earth?)

This is what Wikipedia says:

[The people who coined the word] describe how the smell derives from an oil exuded by certain plants during dry periods, whereupon it is absorbed by clay-based soils and rocks. During rain, the oil is released into the air along with another compound, geosmin, a metabolic by-product of bacteria, which is emitted by wet soil, producing the distinctive scent; ozone may also be present if there is lightning.

EDIT: @Mitch: You're right, I didn't really answer the question. Since the word was coined so recently, and since there aren't a great many citations in the OED or elsewhere in which the word is actually used in a sentence, I would say that you can pretty much substitute "petrichor" for "the scent of wet earth", etc. in any context: there don't seem to be any subtleties in its meaning.

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    This is a good definition, but it doesn't answer the question of the ways the word could be used in a sentence. – Mitch Jun 14 '13 at 21:05

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