vanilla [v uh- nil- uh , - or, often nel- uh] EXAMPLES | WORD ORIGIN noun any tropical, climbing orchid of the genus Vanilla, especially V. planifolia, bearing podlike fruit yielding an extract used in flavoring food, in perfumery, etc. Also called vanilla bean. the fruit or bean of this orchid. the extract of this fruit. adjective containing or flavored with vanilla: vanilla custard. Origin of vanilla 1655–65; < New Latin < Spanish vainilla little pod, equivalent to vain(a) a sheath (< Latin vāgīna sheath) + -illa diminutive suffix (< LL)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Examples from the Web for vanilla-bean Historical Examples of vanilla-bean British Dictionary definitions for vanilla-bean noun any tropical climbing orchid of the genus Vanilla, esp V. plonifolia, having spikes of large fragrant greenish-yellow flowers and long fleshy pods containing the seeds (beans) the pod or bean of certain of these plants, used to flavour food, etc a flavouring extract prepared from vanilla beans and used in cooking adjective flavoured with or as if with vanilla vanilla ice cream slang ordinary or conventional a vanilla kind of guy Word Origin for vanilla
C17: from New Latin, from Spanish
vainilla pod, from vaina a sheath, from Latin vāgīna sheath
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for vanilla-bean n.
1660s, from Spanish
vainilla "vanilla plant," literally "little pod," diminutive of vaina "sheath," from Latin vagina "sheath" (see vagina). So called from the shape of the pods. European discovery 1521 by Hernando Cortes' soldiers on reconnaissance in southeastern Mexico. Meaning "conventional, of ordinary sexual preferences" is 1970s, from notion of whiteness and the common choice of vanilla ice cream.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
n. Any of various tropical American vines of the genus Vanilla, especially V. planifolia, cultivated for its long narrow seedpods from which a flavoring agent is obtained. The seedpod of this plant. vanilla bean A flavoring extract prepared from the cured seedpods of this plant or produced synthetically.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
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