American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of various tropical American vines of the genus Vanilla in the orchid family, especially V. planifolia, cultivated for its long narrow seedpods from which a flavoring agent is obtained.
- n. The seedpod of this plant. Also called vanilla bean.
- n. A flavoring extract prepared from the cured seedpods of this plant or produced synthetically.
- adj. Flavored with vanilla: vanilla pudding.
- adj. Lacking adornments or special features; basic or ordinary: "We went through a period of vanilla cars” ( Charles Jordan).
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A plant of the genus Vanilla (see def. 3), especially one of several species yielding the vanilla of commerce. V. planifolia is by far the largest source; but other species, as V. aromotica and V. grandiflora, are also grown for use. Vanilla is most largely produced in Mexico, the product being obtained to a great extent from the wild plant; but the plant is also found, either wild or in cultivation, in various parts of Central and South America, and is more or less grown in many warm countries, notably in Mauritius and the Seychelles, Java, and Tahiti. On the isthmus of Panama the fruit of Selenipedium Chica, and perhaps of some other orchids, there known as vanilla chica, or little vanilla, is used like that of true vanilla. The vanilla-plant is a climber easily propagated by cuttings, beginning to bear when three years old, and continuing thirty or forty years. The flowers need to be artificially fertilized, except in the plant's natural habitat, where fertilization is effected by insects. The fruit is a long fleshy pod, known as vanillabean, from its form, not from its seeds, which are minute.
- n. The vanilla-bean or its economic extract. The valuable property of the bean, which resides in a volatile oil (see
vanillin), is developed by a slow process of curing involving fermentation. The extract has a peculiar agreeable odor and aromatic taste. It has the medicinal property of an aromatic stimulant, with some effect upon the nervous system. Its chief use, however, is in the preparation of liquors, in perfumery, and as a flavoring of chocolate, confectionerv, creams, etc.
- n. [capitalized] [NL. (Plumier, 1703).] A genus of orchids, of the tribe Neottieæ, type of subtribe Vanilleæ. It is characterized by having tall climbing and branching leafy stems, and large flowers with a broad concave stalked lip, at the base rolled about the column, to which the stalk is adnate. There are about 20 species, widely scattered through the tropics. They are robust climbers, sending out adventitious roots, by which they cling to trees, and bearing thick fleshy or coriaceous leaves. The flowers are usually large, often abundant, and of delicious fragrance, chiefly white and red, in several economic species green. The dark-brown pods are 6 to 9 inches long, and are filled with a dark oily odorous pulp. (See def. 1 and vanilloes.) The Jamaican species are there known as greenwithe and purplelip. V. planifolia occurs also in Florida along the everglades, where its green flowers reach about 2 inches in diameter. V. lutescens and V. Phalænopsis are cultivated under glass for their flowers, which are large and handsome, yellowish. white, or orange.
- n. countable Any tropical, climbing orchid of the genus Vanilla (especially Vanilla planifolia), bearing podlike fruit yielding an extract used in flavoring food or in perfumes.
- n. countable The fruit or bean of the vanilla plant.
- n. uncountable The extract of the fruit of the vanilla plant.
- n. uncountable The distinctive fragrant flavour/flavor characteristic of vanilla extract.
- n. uncountable Any artificially produced homologue of vanilla extract, principally vanillin produced from lignin from the paper industry or from petrochemicals.
- adj. colloquial By association with vanilla as the "plain" flavour of ice cream: the standard, plain, default, unmodified, basic.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Bot.) A genus of climbing orchidaceous plants, natives of tropical America.
- n. The long podlike capsules of Vanilla planifolia, and Vanilla claviculata, remarkable for their delicate and agreeable odor, for the volatile, odoriferous oil extracted from them; also, the flavoring extract made from the capsules, extensively used in confectionery, perfumery, etc.
- n. a flavoring prepared from vanilla beans macerated in alcohol (or imitating vanilla beans)
- adj. plain and without any extras or adornments
- n. a distinctive fragrant flavor characteristic of vanilla beans
- n. any of numerous climbing plants of the genus Vanilla having fleshy leaves and clusters of large waxy highly fragrant white or green or topaz flowers
- adj. flavored with vanilla extract
- From Spanish vainilla, diminunitive of vaina. (Wiktionary)
- Obsolete Spanish vainilla, diminutive of vaina, sheath (from the shape of its seedpods), from Latin vāgīna. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“A third sort, which comes from Brazil, is the _vanillon_, or large vanilla of the French market; the _vanilla pamprona_ or _bova_ of the”
The Commercial Products of the Vegetable Kingdom Considered in Their Various Uses to Man and in Their Relation to the Arts and Manufactures; Forming a Practical Treatise & Handbook of Reference for the Colonist, Manufacturer, Merchant, and Consumer, on the Cultivation, Preparation for Shipment, and Commercial Value, &c. of the Various Substances Obtained From Trees and Plants, Entering into the Husbandry of Tropical and Sub-tropical Regions, &c.
“But "I've just added Fluffer Nutter to our baking schedule," Michelle said last week, which she described as vanilla cake with marshmallow filling, a peanut frosting, a dollop of marshmallows and a drizzle of honey on top.”
“No matter what type of ice cream I try, the vanilla is always a disapointment.”
“I think you put them all in one place that don't have any standard domestic what I call vanilla prisoners even anywhere in the facility to mitigate the threat of that.”
“(The word vanilla is derived from the Spanish vainilla, meaning "little pod.")”
“The building official said he wants the house taken down to its shell - what he calls a vanilla box - with only the salvageable materials remaining and the contaminated soil from past sewer problems removed.”
“Most likely at the time they were marketed the dealers couldn't give them away because most folks who want a Weatherby would not be happy with a plain vanilla '06. +2”
“Chairman Frank dismissed “plain vanilla” out of hand, cut deals, exempted some groups from oversight by the consumer agency and the derivative loopholes made it into the bill on his watch.”
“Quite delicious -- with berries & bits of pie crust in vanilla ice cream.”
“Beat in vanilla extract and then add the eggs one at a time.”
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They told you they're five.
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