noun, plural pea·cocks, (especially collectively) pea·cock.

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 formspea·cock·er·y, pea·cock·ism, nounpea·cock·ish, pea·cock·y, adjectivepea·cock·ish·ly, adverbpea·cock·ish·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for peacocking

Contemporary Examples of peacocking

Historical Examples of peacocking

  • The King and Queen, it was said, did not like this peacocking, but might not help it.


    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.

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 plural -cocks or -cock

a male peafowl, having a crested head and a very large fanlike tail marked with blue and green eyelike spotsRelated adjective: pavonine
another name for peafowl
a vain strutting person


to display (oneself) proudly
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
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 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

Idioms and Phrases with peacocking


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.