[ kap-si-kuh m ]
/ ˈkæp sɪ kəm /


any plant of the genus Capsicum, of the nightshade family, as C. annuum, the common pepper of the garden, occurring in many varieties.
the fruit of such a plant or some preparation of it, used as a condiment and intestinal stimulant.

Origin of capsicum

1655–65; < New Latin, equivalent to Latin caps(a) case2 + -icum, neuter of -icus -ic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for capsicum

British Dictionary definitions for capsicum


/ (ˈkæpsɪkəm) /


any tropical American plant of the solanaceous genus Capsicum, such as C. frutescens, having mild or pungent seeds enclosed in a pod-shaped or bell-shaped fruit
the fruit of any of these plants, used as a vegetable or ground to produce a condiment

Word Origin for capsicum

C18: from New Latin, from Latin capsa box, case ²
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 capsicum



genus of pepper plants, 1660s, of unknown origin, a word said to have been chosen by French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort (1656-1708); perhaps irregularly formed from Latin capsa "box" (see case (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper