So I always thought pepper was the english equivalent of the spanish word pimienta

a bowl of peppercorns

But now I look the translation for pimiento and it also returns pepper (Google Translator)

yellow, orange, red, and green bell peppers

Do you call both pimienta and pimiento "pepper" or the translator isnt working properly?


2 Answers 2


Yes, most English speakers do call both foods "pepper". There are few ways to distinguish them if you need to.

This is also known as black pepper (or red pepper, depending on the color): Black pepper kernels

On the left, you can see some ground pepper, while on the right there are some pepper kernels. You can refer to the small individual balls as pepper kernels or peppercorns.

The second kind you posted are also known as bell peppers, because they are shaped like bells. yellow, red, and green bell peppers
You can distinguish these by color. (E.g. red bell pepper, green bell pepper)

Note that these are also peppers.

a variety of peppers with labels

  • 8
    Pepper is a great example of an English word with plenty of ambiguity. (I just thought I'd pepper that in.)
    – J.R.
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 20:38
  • 1
    @J.R And of course none of these should be confused with that eminent physician Dr. Pepper. Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 22:55
  • @StoneyB Or with the well-known pig. Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 0:29
  • 4
    It might help to add that sometimes "chili" or "chili pepper" is used to refer to some of the peppers in the bottom image, but never the black pepper or bell peppers. For instance, the Anaheim might be called "Anaheim Green Chilis". Also bell peppers and banana peppers may be called "sweet" peppers because they have little to no capsaicin and therefore are not "hot" peppers. Also it might help to show what is meant by the English word "pimento". Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 2:54
  • 1
    When you say "known as black pepper (or red pepper, depending on the color)" — just to note that, while 'red pepper' could mean 'red peppercorns', if someone says it without proper context ("go to the shops and get some red pepper"), it will likely be interpreted as 'red bell pepper'. Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 21:48

In parts of the world like Australia, only the pimienta is called pepper. It is sometimes further described as black pepper, even when it does not need to be distinguished from white pepper or other colours of peppercorn.

Pimiento is called capsicum, after the genus that contains these vegetables. It is not usually called pepper in these areas, due to the ambiguity. Some varieties of capsicum that contain large amounts of capsaicin and therefore are hot, are sometimes called "chilli peppers" (though more often just "chillis"). They are typically used as spices rather than the whole form.

  • 4
    Which parts of the world are you talking about? "Capsicum" is very rare in the UK and also, as far as I'm aware, in the US. Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 0:32
  • 1
    @DavidRicherby South Asia I imagine. It can be pretty confusing for an American to go to an Indian restaurant and encounter chilli (or as we write it, chili) all over the menu: chili here is a (usually beef) stew flavored with chili powder: mostly cumin, oregano and various hot peppers, which usually go by their varietal names (jalapeno, chipotle, serrano, &c). Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 0:43
  • 1
    @Nij: it wasn't an objection but a request for clarification. It's interesting/important to know in which parts of the world some terms are used.
    – Mat
    Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 7:29
  • 1
    @DavidRicherby, according to the Translating cooking terms big list on cooking.stackexchange it's capsicum in Australia. Commented Aug 12, 2017 at 9:28
  • This may vary in different parts of Australia, but in the areas I've visited, a "capsicum" is more commonly called a "paprika". I've never encountered this outside of Australia, where in my experience it's either known as a "capsicum" or a "red pepper" (or "green pepper", "yellow pepper" or "orange pepper"). Commented Aug 13, 2017 at 0:11

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