The vanilla is a kind of flower, but in English, vanilla has another meaning, say 'vanilla neural network' or 'vanilla RNN'.

So, does 'vanilla' mean 'common' or 'normal'?

  • Have you consulted a dictionary? – Mick Jan 20 '17 at 15:48
  • I agree with Mick. You probably can understand the meaning right away if you look it up. – Damkerng T. Jan 20 '17 at 15:50
  • quora.com/… – Lambie Jan 20 '17 at 15:53
  • 1
    Would you explain why the dictionary definition of vanilla as plain, ordinary, or uninteresting doesn't help? – ColleenV Jan 20 '17 at 15:54
  • @Mick, sorry, I am not a native speaker, and my dictionary just told me it is a kind of plant. – GoingMyWay Jan 20 '17 at 15:59

"Vanilla" is a plant, or more specifically a bean, that produces a particular flavor or scent. This is used in any number of foods and other products, from ice cream to cake to shampoo. Because it is so common, it has come to mean "ordinary", "boring", or "unimaginative", depending on the context:

These ideas for the new design are too vanilla. We need something with more pizzazz!

She got tired of her same old vanilla lifestyle and so gave it all up to become a professional alligator wrestler.

| improve this answer | |
  • 2
    The phrase plain vanilla has been in use since the 1880s, meaning "with no other added flavorings", i.e. "simple, basic". books.google.com/… – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 20 '17 at 23:19

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.