tonka bean

[ tong-kuh ]
/ ˈtɒŋ kə /


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.
the tree itself.

Origin of tonka bean

1790–1800; tonka probably < Tupi tõka Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for tonka bean

British Dictionary definitions for tonka bean

tonka bean

/ (ˈtɒŋkə) /


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

Word Origin for tonka bean

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