- an aerosol spray that temporarily irritates the eyes and mucous membranes, used to stun and incapacitate a person or animal: police use of pepper spray to control rioters.
Origin of pepper spray
First recorded in 1985–90; the active ingredient is capsaicin, extracted from capsicum peppers
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for pepper spray
The cops were running for them, batons out, pepper-spray out.
It was a little stainless-steel aerosol canister that looked for all the world like a pepper-spray self-defense unit.Little Brother
He turned it and let the door crash open as two cops in riot-visors came through, pepper-spray at the fore.
- a defence spray agent derived from hot cayenne peppers, which causes temporary blindness and breathing difficulty, sometimes used to control riots
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