Definition of tonka bean in English:

tonka bean


  • The black seed of a South American tree, which has a vanilla-like fragrance. The dried beans are cured in rum or other alcohol and then used in perfumery and for scenting and flavouring tobacco, ice cream, and other products.

    • ‘The perfume is a blend of peppermint, lavender, patchouli, atlas cedarwood, coffee, styrax, musk and tonka bean.’
    • ‘We were introduced to many exotic fruits like five fingers, tonka bean, pois doux, fat-pork, banga, donkey stones mangoes and sour cherry back then.’
    • ‘Perfume connoisseurs will love this scent, an incense-inspired mix of tobacco, vanilla and tonka bean.’
    • ‘However, the use of natural coumarin in food was banned in the USA in 1954, and the use of tonka beans restricted to perfume.’
    • ‘Tonka beans, sweet woodruff, and melilot are natural sources of coumarins commonly found in herbal teas.’


Late 18th century: tonka, a local word in Guyana.


tonka bean