- any of a genus (Vanilla) of climbing tropical American orchids with fragrant, greenish-yellow flowers
- the podlike, immature capsule (vanilla bean) of some of these plants
- an extract of these capsules, used as a flavoring in cooking, confections, etc.
- the flavor of vanilla
Origin of vanillaModern Latin from Spanish vainilla, small pod, husk, diminutive of vaina, pod from Classical Latin vagina, a case, pod, sheath
- of or flavored with vanilla: vanilla ice cream
Origin of vanillain allusion to the commonness of vanilla ice creamInformal bland, plain, or basic: used esp. in the phrase plain vanilla