"You canker blossom!" 3 Shakespearean Insults

pecking order

Animal Behavior. a dominance hierarchy, seen especially in domestic poultry, that is maintained by one bird pecking another of lower status.
a sequence or hierarchy of authority in an organization or social group.
Also, peck order.
Origin of pecking order
1925-30 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pecking order
  • It's the beginning of the pecking order that doesn't stop at the property line of the farm.
  • We are in a good place as far as the teams in our conference rank, but there's a pecking order that takes place in the conference.
  • Another type of pecking order revolves around the placement of a group's detector.
  • It's an exposé on the vicious pecking order that is sometimes humorous, sometimes mildly tragic.
  • The pecking order can get so crazy that you end up with a fatality.
  • On the other hand, this seems to be about the mildest case of pecking order horrors.
  • It's a way of testing each other and establishing some early sense of a pecking order.
  • How much of that is because they are interested in maintaining their spot, and keeping others below them, in the pecking order.
  • Today's offices use low-wall cubicles, high-wall cubicles and offices to define status and pecking order.
  • In the barbecue pecking order, gas grills sit at the bottom.
British Dictionary definitions for pecking order

pecking order

Also called peck order. a natural hierarchy in a group of gregarious birds, such as domestic fowl
any hierarchical order, as among people in a particular group
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
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pecking order in Culture

pecking order definition

A hierarchy within a social group or community, in which those members at the top assume positions of leadership, authority, and power. The expression originated from a description of social behavior among chickens, which attack each other by pecking to establish dominance.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Idioms and Phrases with pecking order

pecking order

The hierarchy of authority in a group, as in On a space mission, the astronauts have a definite pecking order. This expression, invented in the 1920s by biologists who discovered that domestic poultry maintain such a hierarchy with one bird pecking another of lower status, was transferred to human behavior in the 1950s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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