van·​il·​lin ˈva-nə-lən How to pronounce vanillin (audio)
: a crystalline phenolic aldehyde C8H8O3 that is extracted from vanilla beans or prepared synthetically and is used especially in flavoring and in perfumery

Examples of vanillin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web And since each bean yields only 2 percent vanillin at best, the cost of pure vanilla is even higher. Ligaya Mishan Melody Melamed, New York Times, 23 Aug. 2023 The blue-green background of this image is formed by a layer of sulfamic acid crystals, and the starbursts on top are crystallized synthetic vanillin, an artificial vanilla flavoring. Joanna Thompson, Scientific American, 23 Mar. 2022 Evolva, a synthetic-biology company based in Switzerland, has a ten-year history of synthetic biology development and is now making profit with a vanillin-producing microorganism. Luc Henry, Discover Magazine, 9 Sep. 2014 The vanillin in the vanilla extract sitting next to your flour, for example, isn’t causing any problems. Leslie Nemo, Discover Magazine, 20 Feb. 2020 The distinct and lovely aromatic notes of maple come from wood byproducts like vanillin, other products of sucrose caramelization, and products of Maillard reactions between the plant sugars and the amino acids. Elsbeth Sites, Discover Magazine, 1 Dec. 2015 However, curcumin from the health food store might also be synthesized directly from vanillin, which, in turn, is derived from wood pulp or from crude oil. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 5 Dec. 2022 But the lion’s share of the flavor and aroma comes from a compound named vanillin. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, 21 Jan. 2022 That’s just the flavor compound vanillin crystallizing on the surface. Paul Stephen, San Antonio Express-News, 13 Dec. 2021 See More

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

Word History


borrowed from French vanilline, from vanille vanilla entry 1 + -ine -in entry 1

First Known Use

circa 1868, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of vanillin was circa 1868

Dictionary Entries Near vanillin

Cite this Entry

“Vanillin.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition


van·​il·​lin ˈvan-ᵊl-ən How to pronounce vanillin (audio)
: a crystalline phenolic aldehyde C8H8O3 that is prepared synthetically or is obtained as the chief fragrant component of vanilla extracted from vanilla beans and that is used especially in flavoring and in perfumery

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