Q: What word should we use, if we were to describe the PRESENCE left behind, by a person after he/she leaves a place? [I have faced this exact situation a couple of times in the past few days,believe me!] (or) Can sillage be used in this situation? i.e in an abstract sense?

Oxford Living Dictionaries provide the following definition:

(noun) The degree to which a perfume's fragrance lingers in the air when worn
‘neither scent has a very strong sillage’
(mass noun) ‘a summer fragrance with good sillage’

The term is generally used to describe the fragrance that continues to linger after a person has walked by, but can it also be used figuratively?

If you guys think 'sillage' can be used in an abstract sense, can you please provide a few examples?

Q: Is there a word that fits the description I described above?

  • 1
    Not a duplicate. Please read edited question. @Josh
    – AvidJoe
    Jan 29, 2017 at 7:47
  • The original question gives detailed answers about usage and meaning of sillage. As for its figurative usage, it is a question of personal opinion and style.
    – user66974
    Jan 29, 2017 at 8:00
  • Is that usage acceptable?
    – AvidJoe
    Jan 29, 2017 at 8:02
  • Acceptable by whom?
    – user66974
    Jan 29, 2017 at 8:03
  • There are, I believe, better alternatives than sillage, to describe the presence (not the scent) left by a person. But you need to be more specific. Is the presence felt positive or negative? Anyway, I've reopened the question.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jan 29, 2017 at 8:16

1 Answer 1


There are many ways of saying what the question requires.

Her aura dominated the committee long after she had left for Moscow.

Her personality had influenced the committee despite her absence.

Her presence was obvious in the House decades after her death.

Her memory, for whatever reason, survived her death

Her tenor flavored the meeting long after her departure.

Whatever she had done, or been, during the meeting remained somewhat after her departure.

She left an atmosphere of reason that sobered the mob into inaction.

Her deportment had caused the mob to be more reflective and less reactive, perhaps.

If a single, generic word is required to satisfy the question, then I think aura would be it. A number of terms might be used in specific situations: mood, feeling, ambience, climate, complexion, for example.

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