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tonka bean

[tong-kuh]
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noun
  1. the fragrant, black almond-shaped seed of a tall tree belonging to the genus Dipteryx (or Coumarouna), of the legume family, especially D. odorata, of tropical South America, used in perfumes, as a source of coumarin, and as a substitute for vanilla.
  2. the tree itself.
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Origin of tonka bean

1790–1800; tonka probably < Tupi tõka
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for tonka bean

Historical Examples

  • This flavoring is made from the tonka-bean, which contains a deadly poison.

    Searchlights on Health: Light on Dark Corners

    B.G. Jefferis


British Dictionary definitions for tonka bean

tonka bean

noun
  1. a tall leguminous tree, Coumarouna odorata, of tropical America, having fragrant black almond-shaped seeds
  2. the seeds of this tree, used in the manufacture of perfumes, snuff, etc
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Word Origin

C18: probably from Tupi tonka
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