a colorless, crystalline, bitter compound, C18H27NO3, present in capsicum.

Origin of capsaicin

1885–90; earlier capsicine, equivalent to capsic(um) + -ine2; refashioned with capsa- (< Latin: box) for caps- and -in2 for -ine2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for capsaicin

Contemporary Examples of capsaicin

  • And contrary to the belief that eating spicy foods can cause stomach ulcers, capsaicin is reported to hold digestive benefits.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Hot-Sauce Addicts

    Abby Schneiderman

    July 28, 2009

Historical Examples of capsaicin

British Dictionary definitions for capsaicin



a colourless crystalline bitter alkaloid found in capsicums and used as a flavouring in vinegar and pickles. Formula: C 18 H 27 O 3 N

Word Origin for capsaicin

C19 capsicine, from capsicum + -ine ²; modern form refashioned from Latin capsa box, case + -in
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 capsaicin

from capsicum, from which it is extracted + chemical suffixes.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for capsaicin




A colorless, pungent, crystalline compound that is derived from the capsicum pepper and is a strong irritant to skin and mucous membranes.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for capsaicin



A colorless, extremely pungent, crystalline compound that is the primary active principle producing the heat of red peppers. It is a strong irritant to skin and mucous membranes and is used in medicine as a topical analgesic. Capsaicin is highly stable, retaining its potency for long periods and despite cooking or freezing. Chemical formula: C18H27NO3.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.