capsaicin

noun

cap·​sa·​i·​cin kap-ˈsā-ə-sən How to pronounce capsaicin (audio)
: a colorless irritant phenolic amide C18H27NO3 found in various capsicums that gives hot peppers their hotness and that is used in topical creams for its analgesic properties

Examples of capsaicin in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Water can spread capsaicin around the mouth, potentially intensifying the pain. Anthea Levi, Health, 30 Mar. 2024 The starch in bread helps neutralize the effects of capsaicin. Anthea Levi, Health, 30 Mar. 2024 For products that include the active ingredient of capsaicin, Dr. Bose recommends wearing gloves, protecting the eyes when applying, and ensuring that there is no open wound or cut in the area. Danielle Zoellner, Verywell Health, 26 Mar. 2024 High-Performance Liquid Chromatography determines the concentration of capsaicin in a pepper using the same Scoville ranking system. Clare Mulroy, USA TODAY, 22 Feb. 2024 And if all else fails, squirrels are sensitive to capsaicin, the compound that makes peppers hot. Kate Morgan, Washington Post, 21 Feb. 2024 Cayenne pepper, meanwhile, is rich with a natural ingredient called capsaicin that is linked to weight loss. James Robinson, Discover Magazine, 29 Dec. 2022 But the brain's vasculature may not be the only big concern from extreme capsaicin doses. Beth Mole, Ars Technica, 8 Sep. 2023 Today, chili pungency is measured using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), a method that measures the capsaicin concentration directly. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'capsaicin.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

alteration of earlier capsicine, capsicin "material extracted from cayenne pepper," borrowed from German Capsicin, from New Latin Capsicum capsicum + German -in -in entry 1

Note: Name introduced by the British physician and chemist John Clough Thresh (1850-1932) in "Capsaicin, the Active Principle of Capsicum Fruits," The Pharmaceutical Journal and Transactions, 3. series, Vol. 7 (July 3, 1876), p. 21. Thresh altered the name more or less arbitrarily, presumably to prevent confusion with the name for the earlier mixture, the impurity of which he demonstrated. German Capsicin appears to have been introduced by the chemist Christian Friedrich Buchhol(t)z in "Chemische Untersuchung der trockenen reifen spanischen Pfeffers," Almanach oder Taschenbuch für Scheidekünstler und Apotheker, vol. 37 (1816), pp. 1-30.

First Known Use

1876, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of capsaicin was in 1876

Dictionary Entries Near capsaicin

Cite this Entry

“Capsaicin.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/capsaicin. Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

Medical Definition

capsaicin

noun
cap·​sa·​icin kap-ˈsā-ə-sən How to pronounce capsaicin (audio)
: a colorless irritant phenolic amide C18H27NO3 found in various capsicums that gives hot peppers their hotness and that is used in topical creams for its analgesic properties see zostrix

More from Merriam-Webster on capsaicin

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