Cayenne: A bright red, extremely hot, pungent chile that ranges from 2 to 5 inches long and about 1/2 inch in diameter.

Chipotle: This hot chile is actually a dried, smoked jalapeno. It has a wrinkled, dark brown skin and a smoky, sweet, almost chocolaty flavor.

Fresno: Short and cone-shaped, the Fresno is as hot as the better-known jalapeno chile. It ranges in color from light green to bright red when fully mature.

Pasilla: The rich-flavored, medium-hot pasilla is a blackish-brown color. It's generally 6-8 inches long and 1-1 1/2 inches in diameter.

Pepperoncini: These thin, 2- to 3-inch-long chiles have a bright red, wrinkled skin. They have a slightly sweet flavor that can range from medium to medium-hot.

Scotch Bonnet: This small (1-1 1/2 inches in diameter),irregularly shaped chile ranges in color from yellow to orange to red. The Scotch bonnet is one of the hottest of the chiles.

Tabasco: Originally a pepper variety found in Mexico, Tabasco peppers are grown in Louisiana. The McIlhenny family made Tabasco chiles famous in the 1880s as the main ingredient in the still-popular fiery condiment sauce.

Thai chile: Only about 1 to 1 1/2 inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter, this diminutive chile packs a fiery punch that doesn't dissipate with cooking.

Chile: Anything consisting of the Capsicum plant or the fruit from the plant.

Scoville Scale: The measure of a chile's heat devised byscientist Wilbur Scoville in 1912.

Capsaicin: The oil found in peppers that makes them so spicy. Most of the capsaicin is found in the membranes and seeds of the chile pepper.

Ristra: The traditional decorative string of dried New Mexican chiles; used to preserve and store the chiles.

Sambal: Sambal is a hot Indonesian spice paste, most often made of crushed chiles, lime or lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a shrimp paste called blacang.

Paprika: Used as a seasoning and garnish for a plethora of savory dishes, paprika is a powder made by grinding aromatic sweet red pepper pods.