9 Grammatical Pitfalls
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."