I've read the discussion here about Difference between “spicy” and “hot”.

I've also read this one: How to say that food is hot (temperature) without the listener thinking that I mean “spicy”?.

But I did not find any word or phrase that describes the reaction someone has when eating a too spicy-hot food. You know, they tend to sweat, catch their breath, and even sometimes shed tears; due to the spiciness of the food.

So my questions:

  1. What do you say to describe the reaction someone has when being excitedly "suffered" by a very spicy-hot food? In Indonesian, we would call it kepedasan.
  2. What do you say when you get that thing [the answer to question 1] with you, other than the list I enclose below:
    • Oh, spicy!
    • My God, it's spicy-hot!

Is that it?

  • I have seen people use the phrase "eye-watering" to refer to how hot something is, and I think I once read someone use "breath-taking" in the same context, but neither of those is the single word you want. I once saw a restaurant that makes spicy chicken wings refer to the hottest variety as "nuclear" but that is of course metaphoric. If you're looking for a single word which means "spicy" and "extremely" I think it may not exist.
    – jbeldock
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 16:21
  • Pedas in Bahasa, pica in Mexican Spanish. Picar is a Spanish verb meaning 'to prick (like a thorn or needle)' and picante is an adjective derived from it. One warns people about a food by saying Se pica 'it pricks itself', a typical reflexive usage. Our (American) family learned this when we went to Mexico and learned Spanish, and that's what we all say now. There really isn't any good term for it in English, so we behaved like English speakers always do and stole a word from another language. Since I've learned Bahasa, I use pedas, too. Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 16:23
  • 1
    One word. Really? Only one? To describe that feeling in your mouth? Are you sure? :(
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 16:25
  • jbeldock and mari lou a, okay.. I've edited the question. I just presumed that if there is a single word for that in my mother tongue, a single word must also (possibly) exist in English. @JohnLawler: You've learnt Bahasa Indonesia? How, that's great! I'm amazed.
    – Safira
    Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 16:36
  • Actually, I learned Bahasa Minangkabau and Bahasa Aceh first; I found I had to learn Bahasa Melayu to read the dictionaries. I'm a grammarian by profession, after all. Malay is a very easy language for English speakers to pick up; the only problem is that there are almost no cognates. Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 17:44

1 Answer 1


My mouth is on fire!!

Is a phrase that is commonly heard in Mexican, Indian, and Thai restaurants worldwide.

Help !!..My Mouth Is On Fire !! 1

What To Do When Your Mouth’s On Fire From Red Hot Chili Peppers 2

Ya, just ate something spicy and my mouth is on fire. I tried drinking water and that didn't help. I also tried orange juice, and that didn't help. 3

  • Yes, many restaurants use 1, 2, or 3 fire symbols on their menus in the States. Though more of them use red pepper symbols the same way. Anyway, they're red, and fire symbolism is common. Commented Jan 26, 2014 at 17:47

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