cap·sa·i·cin | \kap-ˈsā-ə-sən \

Definition of capsaicin 

: 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

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But eating capsaicin, the chemical responsible for a pepper's heat, has been linked to heart attacks and sudden constriction of the coronary artery, the authors point out. Amanda Macmillan,, "A Man Developed 'Thunderclap Headaches' After He Ate the World's Hottest Pepper. Here's What That Means," 10 Apr. 2018 There are creams and lotions that contain capsaicin., "What Is Shingles?," 1 May 2017 Spicier peppers like habañero and jalapeño contain capsaicin, which helps metabolize fat needed for fuel in endurance exercise and boosts blood circulation, Nalder says. Sara Angle, Outside Online, "Athletes, Stock Up on This Powerhouse Summer Produce," 22 June 2018 Bear spray contains different active ingredients (capsaicin and related capsaicinoids) than pepper spray. Markham Heid, Time, "Going Hiking? This Is What You’ll Need to Protect Yourself Against Bears," 9 May 2018 Cayenne pepper pills and a capsaicin patch, sold in China and Turkey, have been blamed in medical reports for two nonfatal heart attacks in young men, the result of spasms in arteries. Author: James Gorman, Anchorage Daily News, "He ate the world’s hottest pepper, then landed in the hospital with ‘thunderclap’ headaches," 10 Apr. 2018 That's because capsaicin, a compound found in jalapeno and cayenne peppers, may (slightly) increase your body's release of stress hormones such as adrenaline, which can speed up your ability to burn calories. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "How to Lose Weight Faster, But Safely," 12 Feb. 2018 Looking like regular electrical tape, but with rodent icons on it, the tape is impregnated with capsaicin — the chemical that makes chili peppers hot. Bob Weber,, "Squirrel nesting under the hood again? Get tape," 30 May 2017 The scale ranges from standard bell peppers that have no capsaicin to ghost peppers and the Trinidad scorpion–the spiciest chilies around. Anthea Levi,, "Is It Dangerous to Eat Really Hot Peppers?," 6 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'capsaicin.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of capsaicin

1876, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for capsaicin

irregular from New Latin Capsicum

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cap screw

cap scuttle

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Last Updated

30 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for capsaicin

The first known use of capsaicin was in 1876

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More Definitions for capsaicin


cap·sa·icin | \kap-ˈsā-ə-sən \

Medical Definition of capsaicin 

: 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

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a state of commotion or excitement

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