Definition of vanilla in English:

vanilla

Syllabification: va·nil·la
Pronunciation: /vəˈnilə
 
/

noun

1A substance obtained from vanilla beans or produced artificially and used to flavor sweet foods or to impart a fragrant scent to cosmetic preparations: [as modifier]: vanilla ice cream
More example sentences
  • Just before serving, gently whip the double cream, icing sugar and vanilla until it just starts to thicken.
  • Scatter over the cornflour, vinegar and vanilla and fold it gently in with a large metal spoon.
  • Combine the sour cream, brown sugar and vanilla until smooth.
1.1Ice cream flavored with vanilla: four scoops of vanilla with hot fudge sauce
More example sentences
  • Even though vanilla remains an age-old ice cream favorite, numerous other flavors have arrived on the scene.
  • In my book, chocolate ice-cream beats strawberry or vanilla, any day.
  • In summer I like to make ice cream, usually vanilla or chocolate cinnamon - you can win friends and influence people with homemade ice cream.
1.2 [as modifier] Of the yellowish-white color of vanilla ice cream: a vanilla dress
More example sentences
  • Her chin length French vanilla hued bob is heavily layered ending in razored edges that are slightly choppy and flippy.
  • The walls were a sort of stale French vanilla color, a few cracks running down the center of some parts.
  • Her eyes still the deep brown they always had been, her skin vanilla white.
2A tropical climbing orchid that has fragrant flowers and long podlike fruit.
  • Genus Vanilla, family Orchidaceae: many species, in particular V. planifolia, the chief commercial source of vanilla beans
More example sentences
  • Of all the orchids, the vanilla family is the only one that produces an agriculturally valuable crop.
  • The most suitable land for vanilla is gently sloping with light friable soil.
  • There are many species of vanilla thriving around the world.
2.1 (also vanilla bean or vanilla pod) The fruit of the vanilla plant, which is cured and then either used in cooking or processed to extract an essence that is used for flavor and fragrance.
More example sentences
  • Heat milk, cream, lemon zest and vanilla pods in a stainless steel pan and bring to the boil.
  • Bring the caster sugar and 500 ml of water to the boil in a medium saucepan, then add the lemon juice, stem ginger, star anise and the vanilla pod.
  • The cream mixture can also be flavored, often with a vanilla pod, sometimes with fruit or fruit juice, but you could also experiment with tea, cocoa powder, and different spices or extracts - not very traditional but also very good.

adjective

(also plain vanilla) informal Back to top  
Having no special or extra features; ordinary or standard: choosing plain vanilla technology wherever you can will save you money the original, vanilla MP3 format is still the most commonly encountered form of the technology they seem to be quite content in their plain vanilla domestic life
More example sentences
  • Choosing plain vanilla technology wherever you can will save you more money than you ever thought it would and - here's the surprising part - not compromise your company's performance.
  • You want her to know that she can get diseases from a variety of endeavours, not just plain vanilla sex.
  • It's a choice between value-added services or plain vanilla.

Origin

mid 17th century: from Spanish vainilla 'pod', diminutive of vaina 'sheath, pod', from Latin vagina 'sheath'. The spelling change was due to association with French vanille.

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