• synonyms


[kahy-en, key-]
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  1. a hot, biting condiment composed of the ground pods and seeds of the pepper Capsicum annuum longum.
  2. the long, wrinkled, twisted fruit of this plant.
  3. the plant itself.

Origin of cayenne

1750–60; short for cayenne pepper, formerly cayan < Tupi kyinha, but long associated with Cayenne
Also called cayenne pepper.
Related formscay·enned, adjective


[kahy-en, key-]
  1. a seaport in and the capital of French Guiana.
  2. (lowercase) Also called cayenne whist. a variety of whist played with two full packs of 52 cards each.

French Guiana

[gee-an-uh, gee-ah-nuh]
  1. an overseas department of France, on the NE coast of South America: formerly a French colony. 35,135 sq. mi. (91,000 sq. km). Capital: Cayenne.
Related formsFrench Guianese, French Guianan, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for cayenne


  1. the capital of French Guiana, on an island at the mouth of the Cayenne River: French penal settlement from 1854 to 1938. Pop: 50 594 (1999)

French Guiana

  1. a French overseas region in NE South America, on the Atlantic: colonized by the French in about 1637; tropical forests. Capital: Cayenne. Pop: 229 000 (2009 est). Area: about 91 000 sq km (23 000 sq miles)
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

Word Origin and History for cayenne


"pungent dried pepper," 1756, from Tupi (Brazil) kyynha "capsicum," mistakenly associated with town of Cayenne in French Guyana. The town name is the French form of Guyana.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper