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peck2

[pek] /pɛk/
verb (used with object)
1.
to strike or indent with the beak, as a bird does, or with some pointed instrument, especially with quick, repeated movements.
2.
to make (a hole, puncture, etc.) by such strokes; pierce.
3.
to take (food) bit by bit, with or as with the beak.
verb (used without object)
4.
to make strokes with the beak or a pointed instrument.
noun
5.
a quick stroke, as in pecking.
6.
a hole or mark made by or as by pecking.
7.
a quick, almost impersonal kiss:
a peck on the cheek.
8.
(in timber) incipient decay from fungi, occurring in isolated spots.
9.
pecks, Also, peckings. Slang. food.
Verb phrases
10.
peck at,
  1. to nibble indifferently or unenthusiastically at (food).
  2. to nag or carp at:
    Stop pecking at me, I'm doing the best I can.
Origin
1300-1350
1300-50; Middle English pecke < Middle Dutch pecken; akin to pick1
Related forms
unpecked, adjective
Synonyms
10a. pick at, poke at.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for pecking
  • Suddenly the scratching sound ceased, and a kind of pecking sound took its place.
  • Scratching and pecking at the ground is a large group of free-range chickens.
  • The pecking order can get so crazy that you end up with a fatality.
  • There are relatively few flies or mosquitoes-a surprise, considering the hundreds of grazing and pecking animals.
  • My chickens sleep in an abandoned horse stable and spend their days running loose, pecking and scratching around the property.
  • Today's offices use low-wall cubicles, high-wall cubicles and offices to define status and pecking order.
  • How much of that is because they are interested in maintaining their spot, and keeping others below them, in the pecking order.
  • Athletics conferences double as academic peer groups, and give a glimpse into the pecking order among research universities.
  • As to accreditation, there is a pecking order for business accreditation.
  • It's the beginning of the pecking order that doesn't stop at the property line of the farm.
British Dictionary definitions for pecking

peck1

/pɛk/
noun
1.
a unit of dry measure equal to 8 quarts or one quarter of a bushel
2.
a container used for measuring this quantity
3.
a large quantity or number
Word Origin
C13: from Anglo-Norman, of uncertain origin

peck2

/pɛk/
verb
1.
when intr, sometimes foll by at. to strike with the beak or with a pointed instrument
2.
(transitive) sometimes foll by out. to dig (a hole) by pecking
3.
(transitive) (of birds) to pick up (corn, worms, etc) by pecking
4.
(intransitive) often foll by at. to nibble or pick (at one's food)
5.
(informal) to kiss (a person) quickly and lightly
6.
(intransitive) foll by at. to nag
noun
7.
a quick light blow, esp from a bird's beak
8.
a mark made by such a blow
9.
(informal) a quick light kiss
Word Origin
C14: of uncertain origin; compare pick1, Middle Low German pekken to jab with the beak

Peck

/pɛk/
noun
1.
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)
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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Word Origin and History for pecking
peck
c.1300, possibly a variant of picken (see pick (v.)), or in part from M.L.G. pekken "to peck with the beak." Pecker "one who pecks" is from 1697; slang sense of "penis" is from 1902. Peckerwood (1859) is U.S. Southern black dialectal inversion of woodpecker (q.v.); in folklore, taken as the type of white folks (1929) and symbolically contrasted with blackbird. As a behavior among hens, pecking order (1928) translates Ger. hackliste (T.J. Schjelderuo-Ebbe, 1922); transf. sense of "human hierarchy based on rank or status" is from 1955.
peck
late 13c., "dry measure of one-quarter bushel," of unknown origin; perhaps connected with O.Fr. pek, picot (13c.), also of unknown origin. Chiefly of oats for horses; original sense may be "allowance" rather than a fixed measure, thus perhaps from peck (v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pecking

peck

noun
  1. peckerwood (1940s+ Black)
  2. Food (1960s+ Teenagers)
  3. A perfunctory kiss: She gave him a friendly peck and got back to work (1893+)
verb

To eat (1960s+ Black)

Related Terms

a peck of trouble


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Encyclopedia Article for pecking

peck

unit of capacity in the U.S. Customary and the British Imperial Systems of measurement. In the United States the peck is used only for dry measure and is equal to 8 dry quarts, or 537.6 cubic inches (8.810 litres). In Great Britain the peck may be used for either liquid or dry measure and is equal to 8 imperial quarts (2 imperial gallons), or one-fourth imperial bushel, or 554.84 cubic inches (9.092 litres). The peck has been in use since the early 14th century, when it was introduced as a measure for flour. The term referred to varying quantities, however, until the modern units were defined in the 19th century.

Learn more about peck with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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