Plain vanilla

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Plain Vanilla ( English for "simply vanilla [taste], without extras") is an expression from the American language area for something ordinary or normal, without additives or options. It has been used increasingly in Europe since the 1960s.

Word origin

The name plain vanilla was initially used to describe the most popular type of ice cream in the USA: vanilla flavor . With the invention of artificial vanillin at the end of the 19th century, vanilla flavoring became cheap and therefore widely used. It was soon seen as the simplest pure taste, "normal, ordinary" with no extras or additives.

The use of the expression plain vanilla in the figurative sense as "no additions, simple, plain" can be traced back to an article in the US magazine Life from 1942, which spoke in the title of a "pure vanilla foreign policy". This reflected the contemporary understanding of vanilla as "simple, boring". The Oxford English Dictionary added this additional meaning of vanilla to its vocabulary in the 1970s. In 1997, adds: "originally used regarding sexual activities, especially as conventional sex " (used orig with reference to sexual activity, esp in vanilla sex..) . Examples are passages from the 1970s in particular, which use vanilla to distinguish it from BDSM supporters in the gay and lesbian scene.

Later this expression found its way into other areas, which were often determined by the language habits of the USA . Examples are:

  • Plain Vanilla Swap : a common exchange of fixed and variable interest payment streams
  • Vanilla Call: a common purchase option
  • Vanilla Put: a common put option
  • Vanilla or Plain Vanilla as an addition to the name of a software version to identify the standard variant without modification or adaptation

Examples in information technology

According to Eric S. Raymond's The New Hacker's Dictionary , vanilla means "common, standardized" in software.

One of the earliest examples is IBM's mainframe text publishing system BookMaster , which provides a standard way called Vanilla to select which parts of a book to publish and a more complex way called mocha .

Sometimes the name was also associated with computer hardware used without extras so years 1990s were non-upgraded in the home computers of Amiga (plain) vanilla named later sometimes PC components.

In Unix - kernel one is vanilla kernel , a kernel that has not been modified by third-party sources. For example, the vanilla Linux kernel is often given a Linux distribution -specific “taste” through heavy modification.

In computer games is Vanilla often used to refer to the original version that does not by mods , development updates, DLC or patches has been modified. Vanilla can also refer to the original and original game engine if additional source ports or add-ons exist. For example, the term World of Warcraft can refer to the original game or one of the expansions, which is why users refer to the original variant as vanilla in order to linguistically differentiate it from later variants.

In 2003 Charles Winborne described a static website as plain-vanilla webpage , which only consists of text and links to other elements and does not change.

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Lothar Lemnitzer: Where does the term “Plain Vanilla” come from? ( Memento of September 3, 2014 in the Internet Archive ). In: Wissenschaft im Dialog (WiD) . Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  2. Katri Hilden, Emma Hutchinson: Iced: 180 Very Cool Concoctions. Murdoch Books, Sydney 2006, ISBN 978-1-74045-818-4 (English; page preview in Google Book Search); Quote: "Vanilla has become a synonymous with 'plain' - perhaps most vanilla ice cream is flavored with fake vanilla extract".
  3. a b Lexicon entry: vanilla (adjective). In: The New Hacker's Dictionary: Jargon File . November 2, 2010, accessed May 6, 2020; Quote: "[from the default flavor of ice cream in the US] Ordinary flavor, standard."
  4. ^ A b Cecilia Murrell-Harvey: Vanilla. In: Stephen Chrisomalis (Ed.): Lexiculture: Papers on English Words and Culture. Volume 1, 2014, Article No. 8 (English; Wayne State University; PDF: 419 kB, 6 pages at ).
  5. Karim Miteff: EGS Spectrum 28: True Color Graphics for the Amiga. ( Memento from March 6, 2016 in the Internet Archive ) In: May 1994, accessed on May 14, 2020.
  6. Steven Anzovin: How to upgrade your color graphics card. In: Compute! No. 144, September 1992, p. 5 (English; online at ).
  7. Re: What is the vanilla kernel? ( English ) October 10, 2005. Retrieved November 17, 2013.
  8. Ubuntu Kernel vs. Vanilla kernel ( English October) 2009. Accessed November 17, 2013.
  9. Example: What does Minecraft "Vanilla" actually mean. In: February 21, 2015, accessed May 14, 2020 .
  10. ^ Charles B. Winborne: End of Ignorance: The Strategic Emergence of New Yirtual School. iUniverse, New York u. a. 2003, ISBN 978-0-595-27743-8 , p. 150 (English; page preview in the Google book search).