Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A perennial climbing vine (Piper nigrum) native to India, widely cultivated for its long slender spikes of small fruit.
  • noun A pungent black or white spice produced from the dried fruit of this plant, used as a condiment.
  • noun Any of several other plants of the genus Piper, such as cubeb, betel, and kava.
  • noun Any of several tropical American, cultivated varieties of capsicum, having podlike, many-seeded, fruit.
  • noun The podlike fruit of any of these plants, varying in size, shape, color, and degree of pungency, with the milder types including the bell pepper and pimiento, and the more pungent types including the habanero.
  • noun Any of various condiments made from the more pungent varieties of capsicum, such as cayenne pepper, tabasco pepper, and chili.
  • noun Any of various other plants producing pungent fruits, such as the Szechuan pepper.
  • noun Baseball A warm-up exercise in which players standing a short distance from a batter field the ball and toss it to the batter, who hits each toss back to the fielders.
  • transitive verb To season or sprinkle with pepper.
  • transitive verb To sprinkle liberally; scatter.
  • transitive verb To strew something over.
  • transitive verb To strike with small missiles or gunfire. synonym: barrage.
  • transitive verb To beset repeatedly, as with questions or requests.
  • transitive verb To distribute certain features, such as witty remarks or quotations, throughout (a discourse).

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun The product of plants of the genus Piper, chiefly of P. nigrum, consisting of the berries, which afford an aromatic and pungent condiment.
  • noun Any plant of the genus Piper; especially, one that produces the pepper of commerce (see def. 1).
  • noun A plant of the genus Capsicum, or one of its pods. These pods are the source of Cayenne pepper, and form the green and red peppers used in sauces, etc.
  • noun A bitter, biting drink [peppermint, Morris].
  • noun A pepper-caster: as, a pair of silver-mounted peppers.
  • noun In the West Indies, also, other plants of the genus Xylopia.
  • noun See Capsicum.
  • noun Same as chilli.
  • noun Same as wall-pepper.
  • To sprinkle with pepper; make pungent: as, mutton-chops well peppered.—2. To pelt with shot or other missiles; hit with what pains or annoys; also, to attack with bitter or pungent words.
  • To cover with small sores.
  • To pelt thoroughly; give a quietus to; do for.
  • noun A tall shrub of the pepper family, Piper Novæ-Hollandiæ, found in dense forests where it climbs to the tops of the tallest trees. It is used in the treatment of catarrhal affections. Called also native pepper-vine.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun A well-known, pungently aromatic condiment, the dried berry, either whole or powdered, of the Piper nigrum.
  • noun (Bot.) The plant which yields pepper, an East Indian woody climber (Piper nigrum), with ovate leaves and apetalous flowers in spikes opposite the leaves. The berries are red when ripe. Also, by extension, any one of the several hundred species of the genus Piper, widely dispersed throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the earth.
  • noun Any plant of the genus Capsicum (of the Solanaceae family, which are unrelated to Piper), and its fruit; red pepper; chili pepper. These contain varying levels of the substance capsaicin (C18H27O3N), which gives the peppers their hot taste. The habanero is about 25-50 times hotter than the jalapeno according to a scale developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. See also Capsicum and http://www.chili-pepper-plants.com/.
  • noun the Guinea pepper. See under Guinea.
  • noun See under Cayenne.
  • noun the spicy berries of the Xanthoxylum piperitum, a species of prickly ash found in China and Japan.
  • noun See under Guinea, and Capsicum.
  • noun See Allspice.
  • noun The root of Piper methysticum (syn. Macropiper methysticum) of the family Piperaceae. See Kava.
  • noun the aromatic seeds of the Amomum Melegueta, an African plant of the Ginger family. They are sometimes used to flavor beer, etc., under the name of grains of Paradise.
  • noun See Capsicum.
  • noun (Bot.) an American shrub (Clethra alnifolia), with racemes of fragrant white flowers; -- called also white alder.
  • noun a small box or bottle, with a perforated lid, used for sprinkling ground pepper on food, etc.
  • noun See in the Vocabulary.
  • noun (Bot.) a West Indian name of several plants of the Pepper family, species of Piper and Peperomia.
  • noun (Zoöl.) a European moth (Biston betularia) having white wings covered with small black specks.
  • noun a mucilaginous soup or stew of vegetables and cassareep, much esteemed in the West Indies.
  • noun (Bot.) See Coralwort.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English peper, from Old English pipor, from Latin piper, from Greek peperi, of Indic origin; akin to Prakrit pipparī, from Sanskrit pippalī, from pippalam, pipal.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English piper, from Latin piper, from an Indo-Aryan source; compare Sanskrit पिप्पलि (pippali, "long pepper").

Examples

  • For the burgers• 1½ pounds fresh tuna steaks, cut into 1/2-inch dice• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard• 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper in adobo purée• 1 tablespoon honey• 3 tablespoons canola oil• 2 green onions, green and pale-green part, thinly sliced• Salt and freshly ground pepper• 4 kaiser rolls• 2 ounces watercress• 1 red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced.

    Bobby Flay’s tips for great burgers

  • For the burgers• 1½ pounds fresh tuna steaks, cut into 1/2-inch dice• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard• 1 tablespoon chipotle pepper in adobo purée• 1 tablespoon honey• 3 tablespoons canola oil• 2 green onions, green and pale-green part, thinly sliced• Salt and freshly ground pepper• 4 kaiser rolls• 2 ounces watercress• 1 red onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced.

    Bobby Flay’s tips for great burgers

  • This native of India was probably the first pungent spice after mustard to be appreciated in Europe—the Greeks and Romans preferred it to black pepper—and it gave us our word pepper via its Sanskrit name pippali black pepper is marichi.

    On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

  • This native of India was probably the first pungent spice after mustard to be appreciated in Europe—the Greeks and Romans preferred it to black pepper—and it gave us our word pepper via its Sanskrit name pippali black pepper is marichi.

    On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen

  • By many accounts, the name "pepper spray" is overly benign for a substance that can cause death and be used as a torture device.

    The Full Feed from HuffingtonPost.com

  • When the sandwich hears the violin say the word "pepper," she glares at him fiercely.

    Return to Sender

  • However, in Catalan Cuisine, Colman Andrews says pepper scholar Charles Perry thinks the nyora [ñora] pepper is the variety scientifically called Capsicum annuum grossum/provar.

    Recipe for Seafood and Vegetable Stew with Rouille (Red Pepper Sauce)

  • This pepper is of course super hot but has a fruityflavor.

    Peppers and All Things Spicy « Colleen Anderson

  • I finally harvested the one bell pepper from the one plant in the one firebucket, as it didn't seem to be either about to grow any larger or change colors, and this is what I got:

    The secret life of my bell pepper

  • I can find these in any supermarket here and the combo with the roasted pepper is fantastic: D

    Two Recipes for Bagna Càuda (Δύο Συνταγές για Μπάνια Καούντα)

Comments

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  • Public School Slang: to mark in the accents on a Greek exercise.

    April 14, 2009

  • It's half peas, don'tcha know!

    June 16, 2010

  • Or half "pee", depending on your perspective.

    June 16, 2010

  • "There was a time not long ago when the more straitlaced residents of the Maine coast were liable to hear themselves dismissed as 'too pious to eat black pepper'--a recollection, perhaps subliminal, of a time when spices had been forbidden foods."

    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), xvii.

    November 26, 2016

  • "The Romans were not the first Europeans to eat pepper, but they were the first to do so with any regularity.... cuminsesame, coriander, oregano, and saffron are all mentioned in the Greek New Comedy of the fourth and third centuries B.C., but as yet no Eastern spices. It was not that the spices were unknown or that no one had yet thought to eat them, but rather than their exorbitant cost rendered them too precious for consumption by all but the very wealthy. There is a fragment by the Attic poet Antiphanes dating from the fourth century B.C.: 'If a man should bring home some pepper he's bought, they propose a motion that he be tortured as a spy.'--from which not much can be extracted other than a vague allusion to a high cost. Another fragment contains a recipe for an appetizer of pepper, salad leaf, sedge (a grassy flowering herb), and Egyptian perfume."
    --Jack Turner, _Spice: The History of a Temptation_ (NY: Alfred A. Knopf, 2004), 58-59.

    November 30, 2016

  • Another usage/historical note can be found on chili. How pepper was packed by merchants for shipment/transport can be found on fondaci. Some info about its relative value in the late-medieval/Renaissance/early-modern period can be found on cloves and more on sporta and sueldos carlines.

    December 6, 2016

  • "The Portuguese realized they needed more than guns if they wanted pepper. Fugger's silver and copper weren't gold, but India wanted these metals too. Soon, Portugal became Fugger's best customer for metal. He sent wagons full of the ores of silver and copper from Hungary to Antwerp where porters loaded it on ships for Lisbon. Portugal paid him with pepper, making him one of Europe's largest spice wholesalers. Detractors called Fugger a profiteer, a monopolist and a Jew among other things. The spice voyage earned him another name: Pepper Sack. His pepper deals were more visible than his mining activities. Many assumed pepper was his main business."

    --Greg Steinmetz, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger (NY and London: Simon & Schuster, 2015), 59-60

    February 6, 2017