a pungent condiment obtained from various plants of the genus Piper, especially from the dried berries, used whole or ground, of the tropical climbing shrub P. nigrum.
any plant of the genus Piper. Compare pepper family.
any of several plants of the genus Capsicum, especially C. annuum, cultivated in many varieties, or C. frutescens.
the usually green or red fruit of any of these plants, ranging from mild to very pungent in flavor.
the pungent seeds of several varieties of C. annuum or C. frutescens, used ground or whole as a condiment.
Baseball. pepper game.
verb (used with object)
to season with or as if with pepper.
to sprinkle or cover, as if with pepper; dot.
to sprinkle like pepper.
to hit with rapidly repeated short jabs.
to pelt with or as if with shot or missiles: They peppered the speaker with hard questions.
to discharge (shot or missiles) at something.

before 1000; Middle English peper, piper, Old English pipor (> Old Norse pipari, piparr) < Latin piper < Greek péperi; compare Old Frisian piper, Dutch peper, Old High German pfeffar (German Pfeffer); these and Old English pipor perhaps < a common West Germanic borrowing < Latin

pepperer, noun
pepperish, adjective
pepperishly, adverb
unpeppered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pepper (ˈpɛpə)
1.  a woody climbing plant, Piper nigrum, of the East Indies, having small black berry-like fruits: family Piperaceae
2.  black pepper See also white pepper the dried fruit of this plant, which is ground to produce a sharp hot condiment
3.  cubeb betel See kava any of various other plants of the genus Piper
4.  bird pepper sweet pepper red pepper See also cayenne pepper Also called: capsicum any of various tropical plants of the solanaceous genus Capsicum, esp C. frutescens, the fruits of which are used as a vegetable and a condiment
5.  the fruit of any of these capsicums, which has a mild or pungent taste
6.  the condiment made from the fruits of any of these plants
7.  any of various similar but unrelated plants, such as water pepper
8.  to season with pepper
9.  to sprinkle liberally; dot: his prose was peppered with alliteration
10.  to pelt with small missiles
[Old English piper, from Latin, from Greek peperi; compare French poivre, Old Norse piparr]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. pipor, from an early W.Gmc. borrowing of L. piper, from Gk. piperi, probably (via Persian) from Middle Indic pippari, from Skt. pippali "long pepper." The L. word is the source of Ger. Pfeffer, It. pepe, Fr. poivre, O.C.S. pipru, Lith. pipiras, O.Ir. piobhar, Welsh pybyr, etc. Application to fruits
of the capsicum family (unrelated, originally native of tropical America) is 16c. The verb meaning "to sprinkle as with pepper" is from 1612. Peppermint is first attested 1696.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Computing Dictionary

Pepper definition

A variant of POP-11 by Chris Dollin

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Encyclopedia Britannica


(Capsicum), any of a great number of plants of the nightshade family, Solanaceae, notably Capsicum annuum, C. frutescens, and C. boccatum, extensively cultivated throughout tropical Asia and equatorial America for their edible, pungent fruits. Peppers, which have been found in prehistoric remains in Peru, were widely grown in Central and South America in pre-Columbian times. Pepper seeds were carried to Spain in 1493 and from there spread rapidly throughout Europe.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
Spiciness is a chili pepper's best defense against seed-attacking microbes.
Stories of pepper spray have been all over the news lately.
Capsaicin helps the pepper to scare off mammals but does not affect birds that
  could spread the pepper seeds.
The hot pepper seeds in the droppings germinate right there and this is an
  ideal shady spot for them to grow.
Image for pepper
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