Definition of bird pepper in US English:

bird pepper


  • 1A tropical American pepper thought to be the ancestor of both sweet and chili peppers.

    Capsicum annuum variety glabriusculum (or C. frutescens variety typicum), family Solanaceae

    • ‘Birds cannot taste the hotness in peppers and the fruit of the bird peppers are so small that they are eaten whole.’
    • ‘Ethnobotanists believe that birds were responsible for the spread of most wild chiles, and the chiltepin is called the "bird pepper."’
    • ‘The piquins are also known by common names such as "bird pepper" and "chile mosquito."’
    • ‘Curiously, there are not as many names for the wild varieties as there are for some other species. The most common name being "bird pepper."’
    • ‘These peppers are small and all are commonly called "bird peppers."’
    1. 1.1 The small, red, very hot fruit of the bird pepper plant.
      • ‘But my brother, he makes a pepper sauce with these bird peppers, mixing in onion, garlic, and tomato.’
      • ‘Season with lime juice, salt, pepper, and bird pepper if desired, and let marinate while you prepare the rest of the meal.’
      • ‘As pepper fruits ripen, pungency decreases due to peroxidase degradation, but ripe bird peppers, although attractive to and eaten by birds, still contain enough pungent compound to deter mammals.’
      • ‘Mammals, on the other hand, are discouraged by the extreme hotness of the bird peppers.’
      • ‘The bird pepper is an excellent source of heat and sharp pepper flavor.’
    2. 1.2 A variety of small hot pepper grown in Asia or Africa.
      • ‘I don't want to break down in tears and uncontrolled gasping, as I once did when a naughty Thai friend of mine slipped one of those tiny green bomblets called ‘bird peppers’ into my soup, just to see how I'd handle it.’
      • ‘Even better, the tuna ribbons are capable of surprise. One day's version sparkled with scarlet nibs of the hottest little red Thai chiles, the ones they call ‘bird peppers.’’
      • ‘In Southeast Asia there are no recognized scientific units, but the general rule is ‘the smaller, the hotter’; the strongest chillies being the little green ones often called bird peppers, a variety of C. frutescens.’
      • ‘They are all hot as bird pepper and cayenne pepper.’
      • ‘Some varieties of frutescens found their way to India and the Far East, where they are still called "bird pepper."’