chile de arbol

chile de ar·​bol | \ ˈchē-(ˌ)lā-dā-är-ˈbōl How to pronounce chile de arbol (audio) \
variants: or chile de árbol
plural chiles de arbol or chiles de árbol

Definition of chile de arbol

: a small, elongate hot pepper of Mexico that is bright red when mature Chile de arbol, a relative of the cayenne pepper, it has an acidic, smoky heat that gives it a killer punch.— John Keenan, Omaha World-Herald, 16 June 2006 Chiles de árbol are thin, red, very hot chiles available at supermarkets, specialty foods stores, and Latin markets.— Carolynn Carreño, Bon Appétit, October 2010

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First Known Use of chile de arbol

1970, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for chile de arbol

borrowed from Spanish chile de árbol, literally, “tree pepper,” translation of Nahuatl cuauhchīlli

Note: The Nahuatl word was recorded as quauhchilli and translated as “chile de arbol” in Francisco Hernández, Quatro libros de la naturaleza, y virtude de las plantas, y animales que estan recevidos en el uso de medicina en el Nueva España (México, 1615), “Cap. III [del Libro Segundo], Del chilli, o pimienta de las Yndias.” Note that Nahuatl cuahuitl (stem cuauh-) means wood” or “stick” as well as “tree,” so that the original sense of the compound may have been “woody chili,” referring, perhaps, to the pepper’s woody stems.

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The first known use of chile de arbol was in 1970

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Cite this Entry

“Chile de arbol.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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