The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Pepper \Pep"per\ (p[e^]p"p[~e]r), n. [OE. peper, AS. pipor, L.
piper, fr. Gr. pe`peri, pi`peri, akin to Skr. pippala,
1. A well-known, pungently aromatic condiment, the dried
berry, either whole or powdered, of the Piper nigrum.
Note: Common pepper, or black pepper, is made from the
whole berry, dried just before maturity; white pepper
is made from the ripe berry after the outer skin has
been removed by maceration and friction. It has less of
the peculiar properties of the plant than the black
pepper. Pepper is used in medicine as a carminative
2. (Bot.) The plant which yields pepper, an East Indian woody
climber (Piper nigrum), with ovate leaves and apetalous
flowers in spikes opposite the leaves. The berries are red
when ripe. Also, by extension, any one of the several
hundred species of the genus Piper, widely dispersed
throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the
3. Any plant of the genus Capsicum (of the Solanaceae
family, which are unrelated to Piper), and its fruit;
red pepper; chili pepper; as, the bell pepper and the
jalapeno pepper (both Capsicum annuum) and the
habanero pepper (Capsicum chinense); . These contain
varying levels of the substance capsaicin (C18H27O3N),
which gives the peppers their hot taste. The habanero is
about 25-50 times hotter than the jalapeno according to a
scale developed by Wilbur Scoville in 1912. See also
Capsicum and http://www.chili-pepper-plants.com/.
[1913 Webster + PJC]
Note: The term pepper has been extended to various other
fruits and plants, more or less closely resembling the
true pepper, esp. to the common varieties of
Capsicum. See Capsicum, and the Phrases, below.
African pepper, the Guinea pepper. See under Guinea.
Cayenne pepper. See under Cayenne.
Chinese pepper, the spicy berries of the Xanthoxylum
piperitum, a species of prickly ash found in China and
Guinea pepper. See under Guinea, and Capsicum.
Jamaica pepper. See Allspice.
(a) The spike of berries of Piper longum, an East Indian
(b) The root of Piper methysticum (syn. Macropiper
methysticum) of the family Piperaceae. See Kava.
Malaguetta pepper, or Meleguetta pepper, the aromatic
seeds of the Amomum Melegueta, an African plant of the
Ginger family. They are sometimes used to flavor beer,
etc., under the name of grains of Paradise.
Red pepper. See Capsicum.
Sweet pepper bush (Bot.), an American shrub (Clethra
alnifolia), with racemes of fragrant white flowers; --
called also white alder.
Pepper box or Pepper caster, a small box or bottle, with
a perforated lid, used for sprinkling ground pepper on
Pepper corn. See in the Vocabulary.
Pepper elder (Bot.), a West Indian name of several plants
of the Pepper family, species of Piper and Peperomia.
Pepper moth (Zool.), a European moth (Biston betularia)
having white wings covered with small black specks.
Pepper pot, a mucilaginous soup or stew of vegetables and
cassareep, much esteemed in the West Indies.
Pepper root. (Bot.). See Coralwort.
pepper sauce, a condiment for the table, made of small red
peppers steeped in vinegar.
Pepper tree (Bot.), an aromatic tree (Drimys axillaris)
of the Magnolia family, common in New Zealand. See
Peruvian mastic tree, under Mastic.