[ pep-er ]
See synonyms for: pepperpepperedpeppering on

  1. 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.

  2. any plant of the genus Piper.: Compare pepper family.

  1. any of several plants of the genus Capsicum, especially C. annuum, cultivated in many varieties, or C. frutescens.

  2. the usually green or red fruit of any of these plants, ranging from mild to very pungent in flavor.

  3. the pungent seeds of several varieties of C. annuum or C. frutescens, used ground or whole as a condiment.

  4. Baseball. pepper game.

verb (used with object)
  1. to season with or as if with pepper.

  2. to sprinkle or cover, as if with pepper; dot.

  1. to sprinkle like pepper.

  2. to hit with rapidly repeated short jabs.

  3. to pelt with or as if with shot or missiles: They peppered the speaker with hard questions.

  4. 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

Other words from pepper

  • pep·per·er, noun
  • pep·per·ish, adjective
  • pep·per·ish·ly, adverb
  • un·pep·pered, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use pepper in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pepper


/ (ˈpɛpə) /

  1. a woody climbing plant, Piper nigrum, of the East Indies, having small black berry-like fruits: family Piperaceae

  2. the dried fruit of this plant, which is ground to produce a sharp hot condiment: See also black pepper, white pepper

  1. any of various other plants of the genus Piper: See cubeb, betel, kava

  2. 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

  3. the fruit of any of these capsicums, which has a mild or pungent taste

  4. the condiment made from the fruits of any of these plants

  5. any of various similar but unrelated plants, such as water pepper

  1. to season with pepper

  2. to sprinkle liberally; dot: his prose was peppered with alliteration

  1. to pelt with small missiles

Origin of pepper

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