Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A fragrant crystalline compound, C9H6O2, extracted from several plants, such as tonka beans and sweet clover, or produced synthetically and widely used in perfumes.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. the bicyclic aromatic compound 1,2-benzopyrone or any of its derivatives

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The concrete essence of the tonka bean, the fruit of Dipterix (formerly Coumarouna) odorata and consisting essentially of coumarin proper, which is a white crystalline substance, C9H6O2, of vanilla-like odor, regarded as an anhydride of coumaric acid, and used in flavoring. Coumarin in also made artificially.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A vegetable proximate principle (C9H9O2) obtained from the Dipteryx (Coumarouna) odorata or Tonka bean, and also occurring in melilot and some other plants, to which it gives its characteristic odor.

Etymologies

French coumarine, from coumarou, tonka bean tree, from Spanish coumarú, from Portuguese cumaru, from Tupi cumarú, commaru.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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  • "Meanwhile, Dr Schweitzer was reaching a conclusion, and briefly mentioned that Perkin was, predictably by this stage, very much responsible for the way women smelt, having once formed coumarin from coal-tar, which led to artificial musk, and then to the artificial production of the scents of violets, roses, jasmine and the 'smell of the year' — oil of wintergreen."
    Mauve by Simon Garfield, p 10 of the Norton paperback edition

    March 28, 2012

  • A fragrant crystalline substance derived from Galium odorata and other plants. Tonka bean is another source of the substance.

    July 18, 2007