Origin of peak

First recorded in 1500–10; origin uncertain
Related formspeak·ish, adjectivepeak·ish·ly, adverbpeak·ish·ness, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for peakish

Historical Examples of peakish

British Dictionary definitions for peakish


  1. a pointed end, edge, or projectionthe peak of a roof
  2. the pointed summit of a mountain
  3. a mountain with a pointed summit
  4. the point of greatest development, strength, etcthe peak of his career
    1. a sharp increase in a physical quantity followed by a sharp decreasea voltage peak
    2. the maximum value of this quantity
    3. (as modifier)peak voltage
  5. Also called: visor a projecting piece on the front of some caps
    1. See widow's peak
    2. the pointed end of a beard
  6. nautical
    1. the extreme forward (forepeak) or aft (afterpeak) part of the hull
    2. (of a fore-and-aft quadrilateral sail) the after uppermost corner
    3. the after end of a gaff
  1. (tr) nautical to set (a gaff) or tilt (oars) vertically
  2. to form or reach or cause to form or reach a peak or maximum
  1. of or relating to a period of highest use or demand, as for watching television, commuting, etcpeak viewing hours; peak time
Derived Formspeaky or peakish, adjective

Word Origin for peak

C16: perhaps from pike ², influenced by beak 1; compare Spanish pico, French pic, Middle Low German pēk
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 peakish



"pointed top," 1520s, variant of pike (n.4) "sharp point." Meaning "top of a mountain" first recorded 1630s, though pike was used in this sense c.1400. Figurative sense is 1784. Meaning "point formed by hair on the forehead" is from 1833. According to OED, The Peak in Derbyshire is older than the word for "mountaintop;" e.g. Old English Peaclond, for the district, Pecsaetan, for the people who settled there, Peaces ærs for Peak Cavern; sometimes said to be a reference to an elf-denizen Peac "Puck."



1570s, "to rise in a peak," from peak (n.). Figurative meaning "reach highest point" first recorded 1958. Related: peaked; peaking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper