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

Examples of tonka bean in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Ellis Brooklyn Peaches Fragrance Body Mist, $48; Strawberry: Plum nectar adds to the juicy vibe, while amber and tonka bean lend a sensual touch. Jackie Fields, Peoplemag, 19 May 2024 There were figs in her backyard, which explains Bohemian Fig, a warm and woody blend of orange, bergamot, Sicilian lemon, vanilla orchid, tonka beans and vetiver. Celia Shatzman, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 Buy Now Homesick Barbie Dreamhouse Candle Diptyque Amber Candle Evoke the aura of a cackling fire with this woody scent from Diptyque, which features notes of wood, vetiver and patchouli enhanced with radiant aniseed, insolent spices, mysterious incense, cistus and tonka bean. Anna Tingley, Variety, 23 Feb. 2024 Beaux imported exotic ingredients from around the world, concocting a mix of more than 80 different notes, including jasmine and May rose harvested from Grasse, France; ylang-ylang flowers from Madagascar; Brazilian tonka beans; and sandalwood. Lindsay Talbot, New York Times, 7 Feb. 2024 The duo leaned into notes of tonka bean, soft jasmine, and smooth cashmere wood to capture the experience—and hugged after chatting, as if solidifying their success. Margaux Anbouba, Vogue, 11 Dec. 2023 The warm notes of sandalwood alongside cardamom, and tonka bean are most noticeable with this cologne for men. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 5 Jan. 2024 Notes: Citrus, cedar, tonka bean, vanilla, sandalwood Sizes: 1.7 oz., 3.4 oz., 5 oz. Jake Smith, Glamour, 9 Jan. 2024 Amber adds depth to a scent, thanks to sensual notes in the family, like tonka bean (spicy) and vanilla (sweet). Nerisha Penrose, ELLE, 25 May 2023

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 14 Jun. 2024.

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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