[ kuh-kah-oh, -key-oh ]
/ kəˈkɑ oʊ, -ˈkeɪ oʊ /

noun, plural ca·ca·os.

a small tropical American evergreen tree, Theobroma cacao, cultivated for its seeds, the source of cocoa, chocolate, etc.
Also cocoa. the fruit or seeds of this tree.

Nearby words

  1. cabrito,
  2. cabstand,
  3. cabuya,
  4. cac-,
  5. caca,
  6. cacao bean,
  7. caccia,
  8. cacciatore,
  9. caccini,
  10. caccini, giulio

Origin of cacao

1545–55; < Spanish < Nahuatl cacahuatl cacao seeds

Can be confusedcacao chocolate coca cocoa coke Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for cacao

British Dictionary definitions for cacao


/ (kəˈkɑːəʊ, -ˈkeɪəʊ) /


a small tropical American evergreen tree, Theobroma cacao, having yellowish flowers and reddish-brown seed pods from which cocoa and chocolate are prepared: family Sterculiaceae
cacao bean another name for cocoa bean
cacao butter another name for cocoa butter

Word Origin for cacao

C16: from Spanish, from Nahuatl cacauatl cacao beans

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for cacao



seed from which cocoa and chocolate are made, 1550s, from Spanish cacao, from Nahuatl (Aztec) cacaua, root form of cacahuatl "bean of the cocoa-tree."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper