tonka bean


ton·​ka bean ˈtäŋ-kə- How to pronounce tonka bean (audio)
: the coumarin-containing seed of any of several tropical American leguminous trees (genus Dipteryx, especially D. odorata) that is used in perfumes and as an artificial vanilla flavoring
also : a tree bearing tonka beans

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Evoke the aura of a cackling fire with this woody scent from Diptyque, which features notes of wood, vetiver and patchouli enhanced with radient aniseed, insolent spices, mysterious incense, cistus and tonka bean. Anna Tingley, Variety, 23 Jan. 2023 The wood comes in later with base notes of amberwood, cedar, vetiver, olibanum and tonka bean. Dallas News, 30 Nov. 2022 The middle notes are jasmine, oakmoss and coriander, and the base notes are tonka bean, Brazilian rosewood and cardamom. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 4 Nov. 2022 The woody, warm notes of pepper, tonka bean, cedarwood, and vanilla will make colder months a bit more cozy. Tatjana Freund, Marie Claire, 30 Oct. 2020 This twist on the original scent features all the same notes along with a touch of fruity-floral orange blossom and creamy tonka bean. Jennifer Hussein, Allure, 25 Mar. 2023 Not unlike your own authentic spirit, this scent opens with a lively bouquet of orange zest, lavender, orange blossom, and as the scent warms to your skin, the big, bold floral heart takes the spotlight with jasmine, tuberose, and tonka bean commanding attention. Essence, 20 Sep. 2021 Giorgio Armani's Code Parfum, which comes in two sizes (2.5 and 0.5 ounces) in this particular gift set, is a woody scent blend that mixes tonka bean with notes of iris, sage, and bergamot for long-lasting wear. Allure, 3 Feb. 2023 As the cologne dries down, you’ll be enveloped in tonka bean and sandalwood notes. Grooming Playbook, The Salt Lake Tribune, 19 Dec. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'tonka bean.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Dutch tonka(-boon) & Portuguese (fava-)tonca, perhaps of Cariban origin

First Known Use

1796, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of tonka bean was in 1796

Dictionary Entries Near tonka bean

Cite this Entry

“Tonka bean.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition

tonka bean

ton·​ka bean ˈtäŋ-kə- How to pronounce tonka bean (audio)
: the seed of any of several leguminous trees of the genus Dipteryx that contains coumarin and is used in perfumes and as a flavoring
also : a tree bearing tonka beans
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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