Main definitions of peck in English

: peck1peck2peck3

peck1

verb

  • 1[no object] (of a bird) strike or bite something with its beak:

    ‘two geese were pecking at some grain’
    [with object] ‘vultures pecked out the calf's eyes’
    • ‘A bird pecking for food a few steps ahead of me sensed my approach and flew off the ground and disappeared into the woods.’
    • ‘At first it was thought Pebbles had been pecked by a bird or had been fighting with another cat.’
    • ‘Its strong, sharp beak pecked sharply at Wayne's exposed forearm.’
    • ‘Almost all of his grass has been pecked up by birds in search of a tasty meal.’
    • ‘The chickens are pecking, the cows are mooing, and the pigs are, well, eating slop.’
    • ‘The hens also have helped control scorpions - they peck off the stinger and then work on the rest.’
    • ‘Mrs Wheeler said she thought the noise made by the burglars was the bad weather or birds pecking on the roof.’
    • ‘It started at age five when I got pecked on the head by an emu.’
    • ‘The woodpecker was pecking away at some stupid tree.’
    • ‘People stuck outside were getting pecked by thousands of birds at a time.’
    • ‘Chickens were pecking in a small yard and pigs were rolling in a mud swamp.’
    • ‘Subdued chickens peck around the dirt for any trace of discarded food.’
    • ‘Outside Pittsburgh he'd found her flowered hat floating in a pond, half pecked apart by birds.’
    • ‘I got quite used to tiny black Tussock birds pecking matter-of-factly at my shoes.’
    • ‘Birds sang more clearly now, and woodpeckers pecked with more zest than they had heard the night before.’
    • ‘A small, red chicken was pecking around in the grass, near the fence.’
    • ‘The bird waited below, pecking furiously at its own neck.’
    • ‘Farmers trim from a third to a half of the beaks off chickens, turkeys, and ducks to cut losses from poultry pecking each other.’
    • ‘The rooster and hens came squawking and pecking around his feet.’
    • ‘The cassowary pecks the ground, gobbling fat worms with quick chops of its beak.’
    bite, nip, strike, hit, tap, rap, jab, poke, prick
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1[with object] Make (a hole) by striking with the beak:
      ‘robins are the worst culprits, pecking holes in every cherry’
      • ‘Apparently the crow pecks a small hole in the toad to get at the liver.’
      • ‘A bird with a penchant for 17 th-century Dutch art has paid the ultimate price for flying into a museum gallery and pecking a hole in a masterpiece.’
      • ‘He's a prissy fellow, and he takes about 10 or 15 seconds just to peck a hole that is large enough to pull one of the kernels through.’
      • ‘She was well and truly dead with her head flopped in the water and the back of her neck was a gaping hole where she had been pecked.’
    2. 1.2[with object] Kiss (someone) lightly or perfunctorily:
      ‘she pecked him on the cheek’
      kiss, plant a kiss, give someone a peck
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3peck atinformal [no object] (of a person) eat (food) listlessly or daintily:
      ‘don't peck at your food, eat a whole mouthful’
      nibble, pick at, pick over, take very small bites from, eat listlessly, toy with, play with, eat like a bird, show no appetite for, eat sparingly of
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4[with object] Type (something) laboriously:
      ‘Paul was pecking out letters with two fingers on his typewriter’
    5. 1.5archaic [with object] Strike with a pick or other tool:
      ‘part of a wall was pecked down and carted away’

noun

  • 1A stroke or bite by a bird with its beak:

    ‘the bird managed to give its attacker a sharp peck’
    • ‘Ratios of pecks per pace were calculated to estimate foraging rate at the time and place of observation.’
    • ‘Patience finally paid off as one hopped slowly, slowly towards me and I felt the peck of a tiny beak in my hand.’
    • ‘Such injuries may be caused by bird pecks, insect damage, mechanical abrasion, or by tightly compressed berries which burst when the vine takes up water after rainfall.’
    • ‘Peck rates were recorded by counting the number of pecks during a period of continuous head-down posture, which was timed with a stopwatch.’
    • ‘The mother bird started to peck at me, but I dodged all the pecks and hit her beak with my mace.’
    • ‘Ace, not liking his perch to have been taken, came down and gave a sharp peck on Jerome's hand.’
    • ‘Nestlings use this beak hook in lunging pecks and bites to the backs and heads of their siblings that result in scratches, bruises, and skin lesions.’
    • ‘Arrow flipped under her and gave her a quick peck underneath her beak.’
    1. 1.1 A light or perfunctory kiss:
      ‘a fatherly peck on the cheek’
  • 2informal, archaic [mass noun] Food:

    ‘he wants a little more peck’

Origin

Late Middle English: of unknown origin; compare with Middle Low German pekken peck (with the beak).

Pronunciation:

peck

/pɛk/

Main definitions of peck in English

: peck1peck2peck3

peck2

noun

  • 1A measure of capacity for dry goods, equal to a quarter of a bushel (2 imperial gallons = 9.092 l, or 8 US quarts = 8.81 l).

    • ‘If you don't know your bushel from your peck take a look.’
    • ‘America is now the last major power to retain feet and gallons and bushels and pecks.’
    1. 1.1archaic A large number or amount of something:
      ‘a peck of dirt’
      • ‘As my old Mum used to say, ‘You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die’.’
      • ‘Proceeding in January to the border of a frozen truck-farm, a peck of seeds with husks and other fragments was quickly gathered.’
      • ‘I have a distinct distrust of any man who smells of soap and believe we all have to eat a peck of dirt before we die, but there are limits.’
      • ‘We all have to eat a peck of dirt, the saying goes, but some of us enjoy it more than others.’

Origin

Middle English (used especially as a measure of oats for horses): from Anglo-Norman French pek, of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

peck

/pɛk/

Main definitions of peck in English

: peck1peck2peck3

peck3

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • (of a horse) pitch forward or stumble as a result of striking the ground with the front rather than the flat of the hoof:

    ‘her father's horse had pecked slightly on landing’
    • ‘However, Chilling Place pecked on landing and weakened into third, giving the Grade One race to 3-1 shot Marcel, who kept on to hold It's Just Harry by two lengths.’

Origin

Variant of obsolete pick ‘fix (something pointed) in the ground’.

Pronunciation:

peck

/pɛk/