- to strike or indent with the beak, as a bird does, or with some pointed instrument, especially with quick, repeated movements.
- to make (a hole, puncture, etc.) by such strokes; pierce.
- to take (food) bit by bit, with or as with the beak.
- to make strokes with the beak or a pointed instrument.
- a quick stroke, as in pecking.
- a hole or mark made by or as by pecking.
- a quick, almost impersonal kiss: a peck on the cheek.
- (in timber) incipient decay from fungi, occurring in isolated spots.
- pecks. Also peck·ings. Slang. food.
- peck at,
- to nibble indifferently or unenthusiastically at (food).
- to nag or carp at: Stop pecking at me, I'm doing the best I can.
Origin of peck2
SynonymsSee more synonyms for peck on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for pecking
The pecking order of democracy is reduced to this: When the president wants to go, he gets to go.Behind the Scenes With a ‘Site Agent’: The Secret Service’s Hardest Job
October 2, 2014
During any other month, that news alone would have signaled a new world order, an upheaval in the pecking order.Does Katie Couric’s Move to Yahoo Signal the End of Old Media Dominance?
November 25, 2013
That parsing of the pecking order, though, didn't extend to his personal life or interactions with colleagues.Remembering Michael Hastings
June 20, 2013
But Cain wrapped himself in every sartorial cliché about authority, pecking order, and religiosity.Herman Cain's Power Suit
November 4, 2011
In other words, a lot of meeting and greeting that beg the complicated question of pecking protocol: To kiss or not to kiss?The 10 Rules of Kissing Hello
September 4, 2010
The Crow is represented as standing on, and pecking at, the coils of Hydra.A Field Book of the Stars
William Tyler Olcott
He shot them both and then killed the stinger that was pecking at his shins.Cat and Mouse
Some hens and ducks had crept through the hedge and were pecking at the fallen apples.My Antonia
Soon he will feel them striking against his skull, pecking out his eyes.The Death Shot
Then she had given him a pecking sort of kiss, and had wriggled out of his arms.The Brentons
Anna Chapin Ray
- a unit of dry measure equal to 8 quarts or one quarter of a bushel
- a container used for measuring this quantity
- a large quantity or number
- (when intr, sometimes foll by at) to strike with the beak or with a pointed instrument
- (tr sometimes foll by out) to dig (a hole) by pecking
- (tr) (of birds) to pick up (corn, worms, etc) by pecking
- (intr often foll by at) to nibble or pick (at one's food)
- informal to kiss (a person) quickly and lightly
- (intr foll by at) to nag
- a quick light blow, esp from a bird's beak
- a mark made by such a blow
- informal a quick light kiss
- Gregory. 1916–2003, US film actor; his films include Keys of the Kingdom (1944), The Gunfighter (1950), The Big Country (1958), To Kill a Mockingbird (1963), The Omen (1976), and Other People's Money (1991)
Word Origin and History for pecking
verbal noun from peck (v.), late 14c. As a behavior among hens, pecking order (1928) translates German hackliste (T.J. Schjelderuo-Ebbe, 1922); transferred sense of "human hierarchy based on rank or status" is from 1955.
late 13c., "dry measure of one-quarter bushel," of unknown origin; perhaps connected with Old French pek, picot (13c.), also of unknown origin (Barnhart says these were borrowed from English). Chiefly of oats for horses; original sense may be "allowance" rather than a fixed measure, thus perhaps from peck (v.).
"act of pecking," 1610s, from peck (v.). It is attested earlier in thieves' slang (1560s) with a sense of "food, grub."