Definition of capsaicin in English:



mass nounChemistry
  • A compound that is responsible for the pungency of capsicums.

    A cyclic amide; chemical formula: C₁₈H₂₇NO₃

    • ‘What you were up against was the awesome power of a chemical known as capsaicin, an odorless, flavorless substance present in chili peppers.’
    • ‘Chillies are ‘hot’ because they contain capsaicin, an irritant alkaloid which is found mainly in the interior tissue to which the seeds adhere.’
    • ‘What was known was that certain types of nerve endings responded to capsaicin by allowing calcium ions to flow into the cell.’
    • ‘In the fight to protect both elephants and humans, the chemical agent capsaicin, found in chili peppers, is a secret weapon.’
    • ‘Although capsaicin causes respiratory problems, the researchers did not find evidence of any unique metabolites in lung microsomes.’


Late 19th century: alteration of capsicine, the name of a substance formerly thought to have the same property.