Definition of pepper in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɛpə/


1 [mass noun] A pungent hot-tasting powder prepared from dried and ground peppercorns, used as a spice or condiment to flavour food: season to taste with salt and pepper
More example sentences
  • Whiz the onion, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper in a food processor until smooth.
  • In a small bowl, combine sugar, paprika, salt, pepper, cumin, chilli powder and garlic.
  • Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, add the parsley and stir gently.
1.1A reddish hot-tasting spice prepared from various forms of capsicum.
Example sentences
  • Basically, Mexican rice is flavoured by three things: turmeric, peppers (especially chili peppers) and ground cayenne peppers.
2A capsicum, especially a sweet pepper.
Example sentences
  • Gently fry the bacon, add 2 tablespoons olive oil and then sauté onion, peppers, garlic, fennel and saffron.
  • Aubergines, green beans, courgettes, garlic, leeks, peppers, potatoes, shallots, spinach and most variety of potatoes are excellent buys.
  • The plant is a member of the family Solanaceae and therefore a relation of the New World capsicum peppers and potato, and of the Old World aubergine.
3A climbing vine with berries that are dried as black or white peppercorns.
  • Piper nigrum, family Piperaceae.
3.1Used in names of other plants which are related or similar to the pepper, e.g. Jamaica pepper, water pepper.
Example sentences
  • Other crop plants like peppers, cowpeas, clovers, legumes, and many others will be studied in the future.
  • April is a great time to plant peppers, cucumbers, eggplants, squash and heat-loving okra.
  • For example, in climates with cool summers, heat-loving plants like eggplants and peppers thrive in containers because the container and soil are warmed by the sun.
4 Baseball A practice game in which a fielder throws at close range to a batter who hits back to the fielder: he liked to play pepper


[with object]
1 (usually as adjective peppered) Sprinkle or season (food) with pepper: peppered beef
More example sentences
  • He peppered the meat and swirled it with vegetables, asparagus shoots and courgette and finely shaved carrots, leeks and onions at their most succulent.
  • Gratefully, I copiously peppered my dish, and returned the pepper grinder to the young man, thanking him.
  • Two of us chose crispy duck with orange and Grand Marnier sauce, the birthday girl chose peppered steak, another chose lamb kebab with mint and honey and another went for halibut.
season, flavour, spice, spice up
2 (usually be peppered with) Cover or fill with a liberal amount of scattered items: the script is peppered with four-letter words
More example sentences
  • In this case, it is also peppered with an enormous amount of humour as well as a direct insight into the sheer boredom and irritation of being incarcerated and its destructive effect on the personality.
  • In addition, each explanation is peppered with the necessary amount of technical information needed to accomplish the job.
  • His speeches are peppered with key phrases including ‘the consumer is boss’, ‘reframing the brands’ and ‘connect and develop’.
sprinkle, fleck, intersperse, dot, spot, bespatter, dab, bestud, stipple, pock, freckle, scatter
literary befleck, bestrew
2.1Hit repeatedly with small missiles or gunshot: another burst of enemy bullets peppered his defenceless body
More example sentences
  • A propaganda line was prepared, while the city was peppered with repeated bombardment.
  • He finally stopped and was peppered with bullets from an Apache helicopter.
  • He is getting peppered with questions from the press, many of them with a familiar theme.
bombard, pelt, shower, rain down on, attack, assail, batter, fire a broadside at, strafe, rake, sweep, enfilade, blitz, hit
archaic cannonade, fusillade
2.2 archaic Inflict severe punishment or suffering upon: if he finds out my haunts he swears he’ll pepper me


Old English piper, pipor, of West Germanic origin; related to Dutch peper and German Pfeffer; via Latin from Greek peperi, from Sanskrit pippalī 'berry, peppercorn'.

  • The Anglo-Saxons adopted the word for this highly prized spice before they invaded England, for it is found in other West Germanic languages. The word came via Latin from Greek peperi, from Sanskrit pippalī ‘berry, peppercorn’. The phrase peppercorn rent is from the once-common practice of stipulating the payment of a peppercorn as a nominal rent.

Words that rhyme with pepper

leper, salt-and-pepper

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pep¦per

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