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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 ice cream flavored with vanilla:four scoops of vanilla with hot fudge sauce [as modifier] of the yellowish-white color of vanilla ice cream:a vanilla dress 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
(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.
adjective (also plain vanilla) informal
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
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