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[pee-kok] /ˈpiˌkɒk/
noun, plural peacocks (especially collectively) peacock.
the male of the peafowl distinguished by its long, erectile, greenish, iridescent tail coverts that are brilliantly marked with ocellated spots and that can be spread in a fan.
any peafowl.
a vain, self-conscious person.
(initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Pavo.
verb (used without object)
to make a vainglorious display; strut like a peacock.
Origin of peacock
1250-1300; Middle English pecok, equivalent to pe- (Old English pēa peafowl < Latin pāvōn- pavo) + cok (Old English coc cock1)
Related forms
peacockery, peacockism, noun
peacockish, peacocky, adjective
peacockishly, adverb
peacockishness, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for peacocking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The King and Queen, it was said, did not like this peacocking, but might not help it.

    1492 Mary Johnston
  • Tourists as nuns, tourists as Turks, tourists as God-knows-what, all preening and peacocking!

    The Fortieth Door

    Mary Hastings Bradley
  • For Charlotte had come in with a platter, and Nan turned about, peacocking before her unsurprised gaze.

    Old Crow Alice Brown
  • What did she want with that peacocking—wasting time and money; there was nothing in it!

  • And Aunt Hannah in her enraged scorn even undertook a grotesque and mincing imitation of the peacocking aforesaid.

    The History of David Grieve Mrs. Humphry Ward
British Dictionary definitions for peacocking


Thomas Love. 1785–1866, English novelist and poet, noted for his satirical romances, including Headlong Hall (1816) and Nightmare Abbey (1818)


noun (pl) -cocks, -cock
a male peafowl, having a crested head and a very large fanlike tail marked with blue and green eyelike spots related adjective pavonine
another name for peafowl
a vain strutting person
to display (oneself) proudly
(obsolete, slang, Austral) to acquire (the best pieces of land) in such a way that the surrounding land is useless to others
Derived Forms
peacockish, adjective
peahen, noun:feminine
Word Origin
C14 pecok, pe- from Old English pāwa (from Latin pāvō peacock) + cock1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for peacocking



c.1300, poucock, from Middle English po "peacock" + coc (see cock (n.)).

Po is from Old English pawa "peafowl" (cock or hen), from Latin pavo (genitive pavonis), which, with Greek taos said to be ultimately from Tamil tokei (but perhaps is imitative; Latin represented the peacock's sound as paupulo).

The Latin word also is the source of Old High German pfawo, German Pfau, Dutch pauw, Old Church Slavonic pavu. Used as the type of a vainglorious person from late 14c. Its flesh superstitiously was believed to be incorruptible (even St. Augustine credits this). "When he sees his feet, he screams wildly, thinking that they are not in keeping with the rest of his body." [Epiphanus]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with peacocking


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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