pepper spray


Definition of pepper spray

: a temporarily disabling aerosol that is composed partly of capsicum oleoresin and causes irritation and blinding of the eyes and inflammation of the nose, throat, and skin

Examples of pepper spray in a Sentence

The police used pepper spray to bring the suspect under control.
Recent Examples on the Web Police deployed pepper spray after demonstrators tossed explosives at bike officers and security camera wires at a police precinct. Danielle Wallace, Fox News, "Breonna Taylor unrest: Seattle officer struck in head with baseball bat; police arrest 13," 24 Sep. 2020 Protesters said the officers pushed the group with their bicycles, and when the protesters pushed back, officers fired pepper spray into the faces of some of those on the front of the line. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Protesters and police report being sprayed with ‘chemical irritant’ during downtown demonstration," 28 Aug. 2020 Dustin Sternbeck, a police department spokesman, said an officer saw the man about 10:40 a.m. Sternbeck said the officer deployed pepper spray to make the arrest. Peter Hermann, Washington Post, "Man with knife arrested outside Trump International Hotel, police say," 28 Aug. 2020 Officers used pepper spray and blast balls to disperse the demonstrators, police said. Claire Colbert, CNN, "At least 18 arrested in Seattle after a protest is declared a riot," 17 Aug. 2020 As protests continued in the streets, police later deployed pepper spray on growing crowds, and some 400 officers were eventually deployed downtown in response to the size and intensity of the demonstration. Brianna Provenzano,, "In Chicago, Protests Erupt After Police Shot A 20-Year-Old Black Man," 10 Aug. 2020 Law enforcement agents used pepper spray and other chemical irritants to clear protesters from the square and street ahead of Trump's walk to the church. Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY, "Lawmakers to grill Pentagon leaders on use of military to respond to Black Lives Matter protests," 10 July 2020 In September 2016, armed officers used pepper spray at nearby Kinross Correctional Facility after what began as a peaceful demonstration got out of control. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Prison housing unit 'completely destroyed' in what union president calls a riot," 14 Sep. 2020 Video taken by a live-streamer appeared to show Mr. Danielson, a member of the right-wing group Patriot Prayer, spraying pepper spray just before he was shot. Gene Johnson And Gillian Flaccus, The Christian Science Monitor, "Man who allegedly shot Portland Trump supporter killed in arrest," 4 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pepper spray.' 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 pepper spray

1979, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for pepper spray

Time Traveler

The first known use of pepper spray was in 1979

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Statistics for pepper spray

Last Updated

30 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pepper spray.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for pepper spray

pepper spray


English Language Learners Definition of pepper spray

: a substance made from a chemical found in peppers that causes temporary blindness and pain to the nose, throat, and skin when it is sprayed on someone

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