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[pep-er-kawrn] /ˈpɛp ərˌkɔrn/
the berry of the pepper plant, Piper nigrum, dried and used as a condiment, in pickling, etc.
anything very small or insignificant.
(of hair) growing in tight spirals.
Origin of peppercorn
before 1000; Middle English pepercorn; Old English piporcorn. See pepper, corn1
Related forms
peppercornish, peppercorny, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for peppercorn
  • Scallops, supposedly with pink peppercorn, have all the kick of saltines.
  • Clem roasts garlic cloves, boils cardamom pods, and simmers the green-peppercorn-bourbon sauce for his steak dish.
  • There are five varieties of peppercorn, four types of cinnamon, and a wall full of curry seasonings.
  • Land levelling has already begun, and the peppercorn rents he is charging will help fund the requisite infrastructure.
  • It holds two smaller, porous bags that contain several peppercorn-sized pellets.
  • Hearty fare includes such offerings as jumbo lobster tail and peppercorn steak.
  • We have made wonderful smoked salty chocolate, salty caramel, and strawberry pink peppercorn sorbet.
  • Mussels swam in a thick brown peppercorn sauce that congealed after a few minutes on the table.
  • Tumors, it turns out, cannot grow much beyond the size of a peppercorn without an ever-expanding network of blood vessels.
  • The chef also prepares a tasty paella for two and tender grilled steaks, sometimes with a peppercorn sauce.
British Dictionary definitions for peppercorn


the small dried berry of the pepper plant (Piper nigrum)
something trifling
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for peppercorn

late Old English, from pepper (n.) + corn (n.1).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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