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[pek-ish] /ˈpɛk ɪʃ/
adjective, Chiefly British Informal.
somewhat hungry:
By noon we were feeling a bit peckish.
rather irritable:
He's always a bit peckish after his nap.
Origin of peckish
First recorded in 1775-85; peck2 + -ish1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for peckish
Historical Examples
  • That's a sign that you're so peckish you could swallow anything.

  • Why, of course, this is their breakfast-time, and the sight of us has made them peckish.

    The Ocean Cat's Paw George Manville Fenn
  • We're not likely to be in time for table d'hte—not that I'm peckish.

  • If youre going up in the air, Captain, youll be peckish, the man said.

    Ruth Fielding Homeward Bound Alice B. Emerson
  • And I am as peckish as I can be, said the boy, a rapid thought flashing through his mind.

    A Very Naughty Girl L. T. Meade
  • The luncheon gong will go in a minute or two, and this keen air makes one peckish—Eh, what?

    The Silent Barrier Louis Tracy
  • peckish is though more likely to be derived from the action of birds when eating, as all slang has its origin in metaphor.

    The Slang Dictionary John Camden Hotten
  • If I felt sort of peckish they let me suck a little glass thermometer, but there is not much nourishment really in thermometers.

  • "I'm peckish again," he said, climbing to the deck, and wiping the perspiration from his forehead with a piece of oily waste.

  • Well, now I'm off home, for its peckish work mowing on an empty belly, and the mother'll be looking out for me.

    Austin and His Friends

    Frederic H. Balfour
British Dictionary definitions for peckish


(informal, mainly Brit) feeling slightly hungry; having an appetite
Word Origin
C18: from peck²
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 peckish

"somewhat hungry," literally "disposed to peck," 1785, from peck (v.) + -ish. Related: Peckishly; peckishness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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