See? Something airy and light brought down to earth by two stodgy syllables.
Of them the first, per, is dull, and the second fume, brings to mind (well, to my mind, anyway) the sinister fume cupboard in the Chemistry Lab at school which so often, like a dyspeptic ogre, leaked throat-catchingly noxious niffs.
Luckily we have alternatives at our command, of which fragrance, sweetness (it's Waste its sweetness on the desert air, by the way, not fragrance) and scent are all lovely.
So why use the word perfume?
Because you have a tin ear, that's why.
People won't like you for it, you know.
Word Not To Use Today: perfume. This word probably comes from the Old Provençal word perfum, which is in turn from the Latin per, which means through, and fumar, to smoke.