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

Example Sentences

The police used pepper spray to bring the suspect under control.
Recent Examples on the Web At that point, an officer used pepper spray on Wagle. John R. Ellement,, 23 Mar. 2023 Officers also used a taser and pepper spray on Nichols. Christine Pelisek, Peoplemag, 8 Feb. 2023 The officers shouted often contradictory orders before using pepper spray on Mr. Nichols, who ran off. Rick Rojas, New York Times, 1 Feb. 2023 After the tussle, pepper spray, and more threats of tasing, Nichols got away. Lee Cowan, CBS News, 29 Jan. 2023 If their goal was only to apprehend Nichols, the officers did not need to use a Taser, pepper spray, or baton. David D. Kirkpatrick, The New Yorker, 28 Jan. 2023 In all, officers hit Nichols with pepper spray, a Taser, a baton as well as punches and kicks. Jessica Guynn, USA TODAY, 28 Jan. 2023 Police threaten to use their Tasers on Nichols, shout expletives at him, and pepper spray him. Ellen Francis, Washington Post, 28 Jan. 2023 Another attempt by Brasilia’s military police to use pepper spray on protesters failed. Katie Polglase, CNN, 14 Jan. 2023 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1979, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pepper spray was in 1979

Dictionary Entries Near pepper spray

Cite this Entry

“Pepper spray.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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