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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Other toothed whales do appear to have the hardware required for capsaicin detection, notes Célérier, but there’s a lot left to learn. Sarah Keartes, Smithsonian Magazine, 23 Nov. 2022 Birds lack both teeth and the receptors for capsaicin. Amy Drew Thompson, Orlando Sentinel, 18 Nov. 2022 Pure capsaicin, in parts per million, is 1 million PPM. Tamar Haspel, Washington Post, 31 Aug. 2022 Peppers -- a headliner for heat -- are rated on the Scoville Heat Units scale, which measures capsaicin and other active components of chile peppers. Terry Ward, CNN, 27 Oct. 2022 The reason behind the variance in heat of many chili peppers from pepper to pepper is due to the amount of capsaicin produced during growing. Kate Kassin, Bon Appétit, 29 Aug. 2022 Anyone who has eaten a spicy chile is familiar with what capsaicin can do. Aliza Abarbanel, Bon Appétit, 15 Sep. 2022 It’s not just the heat, this steady throb of chile-pepper capsaicin. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 6 Sep. 2022 Use gloves when handling hot peppers; do not touch eyes or nose, as capsaicin can burn skin. Christopher Michel, Country Living, 18 July 2022 See More

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.

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 4 Dec. 2022.

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

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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