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[pep-er] /ˈpɛp ər/
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.
Origin of pepper
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
Related forms
pepperer, noun
pepperish, adjective
pepperishly, adverb
unpeppered, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for peppered
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You may put in, near the beginning, some bottom of a peppered Pasty, or of a loaf of bread.

  • For several minutes he peppered the line-rider with neat hits.

    Oh, You Tex! William Macleod Raine
  • Some epicures are very fond of the gizzard and rump, peppered and salted, and broiled.

  • But now, even if they do get peppered, the squadron may be recommended for honors and he may get a ribbon.

    War and Peace Leo Tolstoy
  • He never got more than two hours sleep or three, or at the most four, but starting up fearing his life would be peppered.

    The Kiltartan History Book Lady I. A. Gregory
British Dictionary definitions for peppered


a woody climbing plant, Piper nigrum, of the East Indies, having small black berry-like fruits: family Piperaceae
the dried fruit of this plant, which is ground to produce a sharp hot condiment See also black pepper, white pepper
any of various other plants of the genus Piper See cubeb, betel, kava
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 See also bird pepper, sweet pepper, red pepper, cayenne pepper
the fruit of any of these capsicums, which has a mild or pungent taste
the condiment made from the fruits of any of these plants
any of various similar but unrelated plants, such as water pepper
verb (transitive)
to season with pepper
to sprinkle liberally; dot: his prose was peppered with alliteration
to pelt with small missiles
Word Origin
Old English piper, from Latin, from Greek peperi; compare French poivre, Old Norse piparr
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 peppered



Old English pipor, from an early West Germanic borrowing of Latin piper "pepper," from Greek piperi, probably (via Persian) from Middle Indic pippari, from Sanskrit pippali "long pepper." The Latin word is the source of German Pfeffer, Italian pepe, French poivre, Old Church Slavonic pipru, Lithuanian pipiras, Old Irish piobhar, Welsh pybyr, etc. Application to fruits of the capsicum family (unrelated, originally native of tropical America) is 16c.


"to sprinkle as with pepper," 1610s, from pepper (n.). Old English had gepipera. Meaning "to pelt with shot, etc." is from 1640s. Related: Peppered; peppering.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for peppered



  1. Energy; vitality; pep: The old moral support is what gives we players the old pepper (1895+)
  2. A fast and hard session of pitch-and-catch; burnout (1920s+ Baseball)
  3. (also pepper belly) A Mexican or person of Mexican extraction (1920s+)


To throw a baseball very hard; burn (1920s+ Baseball)

Related Terms

salt and pepper

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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