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Related to pepper: black pepper, green pepper


pepper, name for the fruits of several unrelated Old and New World plants used as spices or vegetables or in medicine.

Old World (True) Peppers

Black pepper (Piper nigrum), the true pepper, is economically the most important species of the pantropical pepper family (Piperaceae). It is native to Java, whence it was introduced into other tropical countries. A perennial climbing shrub, it bears pea-sized fruits, the peppercorns of commerce. Black pepper, sold whole or ground, is the dried whole fruit; white pepper, made by removing the dark outer hull, has a milder and less biting flavor. Pepper owes its pungency to a derivative of pyridine. In the earliest days of commerce black pepper was a great luxury and a staple article of trade between India and Europe. So high was its price that a few pounds made a royal gift, and the great demand was one of the causes of the search for a sea route to the East. Pepper was valued by Hippocrates for its medicinal properties as a heart and kidney stimulant, and it is still used as a powder or tincture, as a local irritant or liniment, or as a gargle. Many other species of Piper are used medicinally throughout the tropics. The leaves of the betel pepper (P. betle) of the Indomalaysian region are a principal ingredient of the masticatory betel.

Cubeb is the name for the berry and for the oil obtained from the unripe berry of the East Indian climbing shrub P. cubeba. The dried fruits are sometimes used as a condiment or are ground and smoked in cigarette form as a catarrh remedy. The oil is used medicinally and also in soap manufacture. The masticated roots of kava, P. methysticum, widely grown in its native Pacific islands, are made into a beverage called kavakava, which contains soporific alkaloids. It is an integral part of religious and social life there. A preparation of kava for commerce, also called kavakava, is sold widely as an herbal remedy for anxiety and insomnia.

New World Peppers

The red peppers, native to warm temperate and tropical regions of America and widely cultivated elsewhere, are various species of Capsicum (of the nightshade family), especially the numerous varieties of C. frutescens. These bushy, woody-stemmed plants were cultivated in South America prior to the time of Columbus, who is said to have taken specimens back to Europe. The “hot” varieties include cayenne pepper, whose dried ground fruit is sold as a spice, and the chili pepper, sold similarly as a powder or in a sauce (one variety is known in the United States by the trade name Tabasco). The chili pepper is much used in cooking in Mexico, where some 200 varieties are known. Paprika (the Hungarian name for red pepper) is a ground spice from a less pungent variety widely cultivated in Central Europe.

The pimiento, or Spanish pepper, with a small fruit used as a condiment and for stuffing olives, and the sweet red and green peppers, with larger fruits used as table vegetables and in salads, are mild types. (The pimiento should not be confused with the pimento or allspice, of the myrtle family.) A variety of C. frutescens with delicate leaves and cherrylike fruit is grown as an ornamental and house plant.


True pepper is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Piperales, family Piperaceae.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(Piper nigrum), a species of plants of the genus Piper of the family Piperaceae. The pepper, a perennial climbing plant, has a semilignified, flexible, slender stalk, measuring 10–12 m long, and adventitious aerial roots, which form on the nodes. The entire leaves are ovate, leathery, and alternate. The small flowers, which are grayish green or white, are gathered into loose inflorescences measuring 7–10 cm long. The fruit, a globose one-seeded drupe, is 3–5 mm in diameter. Originally green in color, the drupe turns red when ripe and black when dried.

The pepper is native to India. It is cultivated in the tropical regions of Southeast Asia, Eastern Africa, and America. In the USSR the plant is grown in hothouses. The cultivated pepper is monoecious; the wild form is dioecious. When propagated by seeds, the pepper flowers in the third or fourth year. Plants that have been propagated vegetatively flower in the fifth or sixth month. The plant flowers only once; the fruit ripens in five to ten months. Peppers graft well; they branch profusely after pruning.

The harvest from one pepper plant is 0.6–1.5 kg. The optimal air temperature is 24°-26°C. The plant, which is not drought resistant, grows best on fertile soils that are moist but drained. As many as 7,500 plants may be planted per hectare (with three seeds in each hole).

The pepper plant is used as a spice in cooking and by the food-processing industry. Its pungency and spiciness depend on its content of the alkaloid pipeline and essential oils.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

What does it mean when you dream about a pepper?

Pepper can represent spiciness, irritation, or warmth—all of which are metaphors for aspects of human interaction. In a dream, pepper could be representing any one of these qualities.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


Any of several warm-season perennials of the genus Capsicum in the order Polemoniales, especially C. annum which is cultivated for its fruit, a many-seeded berry with a thickened integument.
(food engineering)
Any of various spices and condiments obtained from the fruits of plants of the genus Piper.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


1. a woody climbing plant, Piper nigrum, of the East Indies, having small black berry-like fruits: family Piperaceae
2. the dried fruit of this plant, which is ground to produce a sharp hot condiment
3. any of various other plants of the genus Piper
4. any of various tropical plants of the solanaceous genus Capsicum, esp C. frutescens, the fruits of which are used as a vegetable and a condiment
5. the fruit of any of these capsicums, which has a mild or pungent taste
6. any of various similar but unrelated plants, such as water pepper
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


A variant of POP-11 by Chris Dollin <>.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (

password salt

A random number added to a password to make it more difficult to crack. It is common practice to take passwords and run them through a hashing algorithm and store the results in the login database. When users enter their passwords, they are once again hashed and matched against the database. A salt is a random number added to the password prior to hashing to make the result more difficult to uncover by using a "brute force" dictionary attack.

Less widely used than a salt, a "pepper" is a fixed value added to the password. See hash function, dictionary attack and password.
Copyright © 1981-2019 by The Computer Language Company Inc. All Rights reserved. THIS DEFINITION IS FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY. All other reproduction is strictly prohibited without permission from the publisher.
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