See more synonyms for peacock on
noun, plural pea·cocks, (especially collectively) pea·cock.
  1. 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.
  2. any peafowl.
  3. a vain, self-conscious person.
  4. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Pavo.
verb (used without object)
  1. 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 formspea·cock·er·y, pea·cock·ism, nounpea·cock·ish, pea·cock·y, adjectivepea·cock·ish·ly, adverbpea·cock·ish·ness, noun


  1. Thomas Love,1785–1866, English poet and novelist. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for peacock

Contemporary Examples of peacock

Historical Examples of peacock

  • We are not feasting on baked swans, peacock tongues and drinking our pearls.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • I wouldn't have nothin' to say to any bird below a Peacock; and he'd be wulgar.

  • Then I know another story of how the eyes came into the peacock's feathers.

    Classic Myths

    Mary Catherine Judd

  • A cloudless sky has a peacock in it, whose servants are the eagles.

    Aino Folk-Tales

    Basil Hall Chamberlain

  • A hen is all right in her place, but she don't belong in a peacock cage.

    Kent Knowles: Quahaug

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for peacock


noun plural -cocks or -cock
  1. a male peafowl, having a crested head and a very large fanlike tail marked with blue and green eyelike spotsRelated adjective: pavonine
  2. another name for peafowl
  3. a vain strutting person
  1. to display (oneself) proudly
  2. obsolete, slang, Australian to acquire (the best pieces of land) in such a way that the surrounding land is useless to others
Derived Formspeacockish, adjectivepeahen, fem n

Word Origin for peacock

C14 pecok, pe- from Old English pāwa (from Latin pāvō peacock) + cock 1


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

Word Origin and History for peacock

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

Idioms and Phrases with peacock


see proud as a peacock.

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