cacao

noun
ca·​cao | \ kə-ˈkau̇ How to pronounce cacao (audio) , kə-ˈkā-(ˌ)ō\
plural cacaos

Definition of cacao

1 or cacao bean : the dried partly fermented fatty seeds of a South American evergreen tree (Theobroma cacao of the family Sterculiaceae) that are used in making cocoa, chocolate, and cocoa butter … polyphenols also make cacao beans taste astringent and bitter.— Patricia Gadsby

called also cocoa bean

2 or cacao tree : a tree having small yellowish flowers followed by fleshy pods from which cacao is obtained Chocolate starts as the seeds in the fruits of the cacao tree, a tropical plant that produces flowers and fruit not at the tips of branches but on the trunk.— Kenneth Chang The cacao tree is native to the tropical countries of South America, but now grows in other parts of the world, notably Africa, the West Indies, and Central America.— Joanna Morris

Illustration of cacao

Illustration of cacao

cacao 2

Examples of cacao in a Sentence

a farmer who grows cacao

Recent Examples on the Web

Chocolate, in its many forms, is derived from the fruit of cacao trees. Ashleigh Spitza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Chocolate is more than romantic - it's good for the heart," 14 Feb. 2018 Then everyone takes an action in turn, transmuting food into stone or cacao into glass jugs. Tom Mendelsohn, Ars Technica, "Altiplano review: A brain-tickling board game about… alpacas," 14 July 2018 Cocktails have adventurous herb and floral notes like the crystalline hit of cardamom in the Beauty Mark, with lime, gin and egg white foam with a dot of cacao bitters. Sarah Fritsche, SFChronicle.com, "Best new restaurants and bars to visit in the Mission right now," 17 June 2018 But where Theobroma cacao was domesticated has been a matter of debate. Rachel Sugar, Vox, "Chocolate has been around for millennia. New research suggests it’s even older than we thought.," 31 Oct. 2018 Increase the cacao percentage of your dark chocolate. Alexandra Tunell, Harper's BAZAAR, "10 Easy Ways to Detox," 15 Jan. 2015 The seeds are the part of the cacao pod used to make chocolate. Candice Choi, The Seattle Times, "How old is cacao? New research pushes back date," 31 Oct. 2018 Miglore got pretty tired of sugar by the end — except for chocolate queen Alice Medrich’s Nibby Buckwheat Butter Cookies with cacao nibs and buckwheat flour, an intriguing and not-too-sweet shortbread. Rebekah Denn, The Seattle Times, "Food52.com writer Kristen Miglore’s book ‘Genius Desserts’ includes several sweet Seattle specialties," 27 Nov. 2018 Stop and refresh yourself with a cacao bowl or watermelon juice. Hanya Yanagihara, Condé Nast Traveler, "50 Things to Do in Asia Before You Die," 24 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cacao.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cacao

1555, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for cacao

Spanish, from Nahuatl cacahuatl

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Statistics for cacao

Last Updated

11 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for cacao

The first known use of cacao was in 1555

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More Definitions for cacao

cacao

noun

English Language Learners Definition of cacao

: the dried seeds of a tropical tree that are used to make cocoa and chocolate

cacao

noun
ca·​cao | \ kə-ˈkau̇ How to pronounce cacao (audio) , kə-ˈkā-ō\
plural cacaos

Kids Definition of cacao

: a South American tree with fleshy yellow pods that contain fatty seeds from which chocolate is made

cacao

noun
ca·​cao | \ kə-ˈkau̇ How to pronounce cacao (audio) , kə-ˈkā-(ˌ)ō How to pronounce cacao (audio) \
plural cacaos

Medical Definition of cacao

1 : the dried partly fermented fatty seeds of a South American evergreen tree (Theobroma cacao of the family Sterculiaceae) that are used in making cocoa, chocolate, and cocoa butter

called also cacao bean, cocoa bean

2 : a tree having small yellowish flowers followed by fleshy pods with many seeds that bear cacao

called also chocolate tree

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More from Merriam-Webster on cacao

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with cacao

Spanish Central: Translation of cacao

Nglish: Translation of cacao for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about cacao

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