1. a pin of wood or other material driven or fitted into something, as to fasten parts together, to hang things on, to make fast a rope or string on, to stop a hole, or to mark some point.
  2. Informal. a leg, either real or wooden: still on his pegs at 99.
  3. a notch or degree: to come down a peg.
  4. an occasion, basis, or reason: a peg to hang a grievance on.
  5. Also called pin. Music. a pin of wood or metal in the neck of a stringed instrument that may be turned in its socket to adjust a string's tension.
  6. Informal. a throw, especially in baseball: The peg to the plate was late.
  7. news peg.
  8. Economics. the level at which some price, exchange rate, etc., is set.
  9. British, Indian English. an alcoholic drink, especially a whiskey or brandy and soda.
  10. British. clothespin.
verb (used with object), pegged, peg·ging.
  1. to drive or insert a peg into.
  2. to fasten with or as with pegs.
  3. to mark with pegs.
  4. to strike or pierce with or as with a peg.
  5. to keep (the commodity price, exchange rate, etc.) at a set level, as by manipulation or law.
  6. Informal. to throw (a ball).
  7. Journalism. to base (an article, feature story, etc.) upon; justify by (usually followed by on): The feature on the chief of police was pegged on the riots.
  8. Informal. to identify: to peg someone as a good prospect.
verb (used without object), pegged, peg·ging.
  1. to work or continue persistently or energetically: to peg away at a homework assignment.
  2. Informal. to throw a ball.
  3. Croquet. to strike a peg, as in completing a game.
  1. Also pegged. tapered toward the bottom of the leg: peg trousers.
  1. take down a peg, to reduce the pride or arrogance of; humble: I guess that'll take him down a peg!

Origin of peg

1400–50; late Middle English pegge (noun), peggen (v.) < Middle Dutch
Related formspeg·less, adjectivepeg·like, adjectivere·peg, verb, re·pegged, re·peg·ging.


  1. a female given name, form of Peggy. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for pegs

fix, tighten, join, secure, pin, clinch, fasten

Examples from the Web for pegs

Contemporary Examples of pegs

Historical Examples of pegs

  • Their blankets, clothes, and the like, he hung on pegs and nails.

  • Near a third stall were pegs for saddle and bridle, but they were empty.

    The Cavalier

    George Washington Cable

  • Her tries to take down the rifle—­the one as is there on the pegs, sir.

  • To begin with he almost broke the pegs off in hanging up his hat and muffler.

  • That was a scientific discovery, and he tried several other pegs.

    Two Arrows

    William O. Stoddard

British Dictionary definitions for pegs


  1. a small cylindrical pin or dowel, sometimes slightly tapered, used to join two parts together
  2. a pin pushed or driven into a surface: used to mark scores, define limits, support coats, etc
  3. music any of several pins passing through the head (peg box) of a stringed instrument, which can be turned so as to tune strings wound around themSee also pin (def. 11)
  4. Also called: clothes peg British a split or hinged pin for fastening wet clothes to a line to dryUS and Canadian equivalent: clothespin
  5. informal a person's leg
  6. Northern English dialect a tooth
  7. British a small drink of wine or spirits, esp of brandy or whisky and soda
  8. an opportunity or pretext for doing somethinga peg on which to hang a theory
  9. a mountaineering piton
  10. croquet a post that a player's ball must strike to win the game
  11. angling a fishing station allotted to an angler in a competition, marked by a peg in the ground
  12. informal a level of self-esteem, importance, etc (esp in the phrases bring or take down a peg)
  13. informal See peg leg
  14. off the peg mainly British (of clothes) ready to wear, as opposed to tailor-made
verb pegs, pegging or pegged
  1. (tr) to knock or insert a peg into or pierce with a peg
  2. (tr sometimes foll by down) to secure with pegsto peg a tent
  3. mountaineering to insert or use pitons
  4. (tr) to mark (a score) with pegs, as in some card games
  5. (tr) informal to aim and throw (missiles) at a target
  6. (intr; foll by away, along, etc) mainly British to work steadilyhe pegged away at his job for years
  7. (tr) to stabilize (the price of a commodity, an exchange rate, etc) by legislation or market operations
See also peg down, peg out

Word Origin for peg

C15: from Low Germanic pegge
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 pegs



mid-15c., from Middle Dutch pegge "peg," a common Low German word (cf. Low German pigge "peg," German Pegel "gauge rod, watermark," Middle Dutch pegel "little knob used as a mark," Dutch peil "gauge, watermark, standard"), of uncertain origin; perhaps from PIE *bak- "staff used as support" (see bacillus). To be a square peg in a round hole "be inappropriate for one's situation" is attested from 1836; to take someone down a peg is from 1580s, but the original literal sense is uncertain (most of the likely candidates are not attested until centuries later). Peg leg "wooden leg" attested from 1765.



"fasten with or as if on a peg," 1590s, from peg (n.). Slang sense of "identify, classify" first recorded 1920. Related: Pegged; pegging.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with pegs


In addition to the idiom beginning with peg

  • peg away at

also see:

  • square peg in a round hole
  • take down a notch (peg)
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.