Definition of peaky in English:



  • [predicative] Pale from illness or fatigue; sickly.

    ‘you're looking a bit peaky—a change of scene would do you good’
    • ‘There he is on the cover, looking a bit peaky, naturally.’
    • ‘I must say that he's looking a bit peaky after the drubbing he's had over his law partnership.’
    • ‘Some of the lads were beginning to look distinctly peaky.’
    • ‘I was feeling a bit peaky tonight, and I crept off to bed early, and dropped off, despite the soundtrack burbling away in the background.’
    • ‘Their client was lean and tall, with the peaky face of an adolescent who was still growing.’
    • ‘I won't go into the gory details about what's been making me peaky.’
    • ‘She was already starting to look peaky and pale.’
    • ‘Then he had the gall to say, ‘Look, if he's very old and is looking a bit peaky don't put a correction in for a couple of days.’
    • ‘The smokers, faced with the climb down from, and more importantly back up to, the third floor for a ciggy are now looking a bit peaky.’
    • ‘I've never seen a make up lady on the verge of tears before but my puffed out peaky face was a challenge too far.’
    • ‘I've had better ideas than going out after drinks, on an empty stomach, when feeling a mite peaky to see a free film.’
    • ‘She's been peaky for a couple of days now after working far too hard.’
    • ‘But she was feeling a little peaky during lunch and I convinced her to let me stay home in the afternoon.’
    • ‘It's as though your mum thinks you look a bit peaky and wants to build you up.’


Early 19th century: from peak + -y.