1

vanilla

noun va·nil·la \ və-ˈni-lə , -ˈne- \

Definition of vanilla

b :a commercially important extract of the vanilla bean that is used especially as a flavoring
2 :any of a genus (Vanilla) of tropical American climbing epiphytic orchids

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Examples of vanilla in a Sentence

  1. The frosting is flavored with vanilla.

Recent Examples of vanilla from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of vanilla

borrowed from New Latin, borrowed from Spanish vainilla "the vanilla plant and fruit," diminutive of vaina "sheath, pod," going back to Latin vāgīna "scabbard, sheath"; replacing earlier vaynilla, borrowed from Spanish


2

vanilla

adjective

Definition of vanilla

1 :flavored with vanilla
2 :lacking distinction :plain, ordinary, conventional

Examples of vanilla in a Sentence

  1. The décor is pretty vanilla.

  2. a plain vanilla version of a song that's been recorded more times than necessary

Did You Know?

For lexicographers, vanilla has more flavor than chocolate, because it adds a tasty synonym for plain to the English menu. The noun vanilla was first served up in 1662, but it took almost 200 years for its adjective use to become established for things, like ice and sugar, flavored with vanilla. By the 1970s vanilla was perceived as being the plain flavor of the ice-cream world, and people began using the word itself to describe anything plain, ordinary, or conventional.

First Known Use of vanilla

1846


VANILLA Defined for English Language Learners

vanilla

noun

Definition of vanilla for English Language Learners

  • : a dark substance that is made from the beans of a tropical plant and that is used to flavor food


vanilla

adjective

Definition of vanilla for English Language Learners

  • : having the flavor of vanilla

  • : not having any special features or qualities


VANILLA Defined for Kids

vanilla

noun va·nil·la \ və-ˈni-lə , -ˈne- \

Definition of vanilla for Students

:a substance extracted from vanilla beans and used as a flavoring especially for sweet foods and beverages

Medical Dictionary

vanilla

noun va·nil·la \ və-ˈnil-ə , -ˈnel- \

medical Definition of vanilla

b :a commercially important extract of the vanilla bean that is prepared by soaking comminuted vanilla beans in water and ethyl alcohol and that is used especially as a flavoring (as in pharmaceutical preparations)
2 :any of a genus (Vanilla) of tropical American climbing orchids


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