Wondermark #829, 4/20, "In which pepper is explained":
The mouse-over text is
"How often does somebody actually WONDER ABOUT ETYMOLOGY in my PRESENCE?? You GOTTA give me this!!"
There's at least one significant anachronism in the faux-Victorian setting: as far as I know, degrees in "linguistics" were not offered anywhere in the English-speaking world until after WWII.
Needless to say, pep is in fact a shortened form of pepper, which in turn, according to the OED, is
< classical Latin piper, a loanword < Indo-Aryan (as is ancient Greek πέπερι ); compare Sanskrit pippalī long pepper.
By "long pepper" the OED refers to
Any of various forms of capsicum, esp. Capsicum annuum var. annuum. Originally (chiefly with distinguishing word): any variety of the C. annuum Longum group, with elongated fruits having a hot, pungent taste, the source of cayenne, chilli powder, paprika, etc., or of the perennial C. frutescens, the source of Tabasco sauce.
And my understanding is that the capsicum genus is native to the Americas, and did not exist in Europe, Africa, or Asia in pre-Columbian times. So a Sanskrit word for "long pepper" is either a modern importation into Sankrit, or else a modern extension of a word that actually referred to something else.