[kuh-kah-oh, -key-oh]

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.

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

Contemporary Examples of cacao

Historical Examples of cacao

  • The cacao it was agreed should be taken to Tortuga to be sold.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • In the aspect of a cacao plantation there is nothing specially attractive.

  • The only exports of Philippine produce at this date were cacao, sugar, wax, and sapanwood.

  • Cocoa and Chocolate are obtained from the seeds of Theobroma cacao.

    Breakfast Dainties

    Thomas J. Murrey

  • No, I answer—it was not chocolate, nor cocoa, nor cacao neither.

British Dictionary definitions for cacao



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