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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’
bite, nip, strike, hit, tap, rap, jab, poke, prickView synonyms
- ‘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.’
- 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.’
- 1.2[with object] Kiss (someone) lightly or perfunctorily:‘she pecked him on the cheek’kiss, plant a kiss, give someone a peckView synonyms
- 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 ofView synonyms
- 1.4[with object] Type (something) laboriously:‘Paul was pecking out letters with two fingers on his typewriter’
- 1.5archaic [with object] Strike with a pick or other tool:‘part of a wall was pecked down and carted away’
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 A light or perfunctory kiss:‘a fatherly peck on the cheek’
2informal, archaic [mass noun] Food:‘he wants a little more peck’
Late Middle English: of unknown origin; compare with Middle Low German pekken peck (with the beak).
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.’
- 1.1archaic 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.’
Middle English (used especially as a measure of oats for horses): from Anglo-Norman French pek, of unknown origin.
(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.’
Variant of obsolete pick ‘fix (something pointed) in the ground’.
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