An unreported organic probe (A1) was rationally designed and synthesized. The structural characterization of the A1 has been examined using NMR, FT-IR, ESI-MS and UV–Vis spectral techniques. The A1 dispensed high sensitivity and improved selectivity towards the cyanide ion in aqueous media, which was evidenced from the drastic color change. The detection limit of A1 was found to be 1.95 × 10 −7 M which appreciably competes with existing CN − probes. The binding mechanism of the probe with cyanide ion was confirmed through 1 H NMR titration method. Furthermore, A1 will be efficiently used to detect trace amount of cyanide ion present in food samples such as cassava flour, apple seeds, and sporting potatoes. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.