chile de arbol

noun chile de ar·bol \ˈchē-(ˌ)lā-dā-är-ˈbōl\
variants: or

chile de árbol

Definition of chile de arbol


chiles de arbol


chiles de árbol


  1. :  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

Love words? You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Join MWU now and get access to America’s largest dictionary, with:

  • 300,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

Origin and Etymology of chile de arbol

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

First Known Use: 1970

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up chile de arbol? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


feeling or affected by lethargy

Get Word of the Day daily email!