Main definitions of peck in English

: peck1peck2peck3

peck1

verb

  • 1no 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’
    • ‘The woodpecker was pecking away at some stupid tree.’
    • ‘A bird pecking for food a few steps ahead of me sensed my approach and flew off the ground and disappeared into the woods.’
    • ‘The cassowary pecks the ground, gobbling fat worms with quick chops of its beak.’
    • ‘People stuck outside were getting pecked by thousands of birds at a time.’
    • ‘A small, red chicken was pecking around in the grass, near the fence.’
    • ‘Almost all of his grass has been pecked up by birds in search of a tasty meal.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The bird waited below, pecking furiously at its own neck.’
    • ‘The chickens are pecking, the cows are mooing, and the pigs are, well, eating slop.’
    • ‘The rooster and hens came squawking and pecking around his feet.’
    • ‘Farmers trim from a third to a half of the beaks off chickens, turkeys, and ducks to cut losses from poultry pecking each other.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Birds sang more clearly now, and woodpeckers pecked with more zest than they had heard the night before.’
    • ‘I got quite used to tiny black Tussock birds pecking matter-of-factly at my shoes.’
    • ‘Chickens were pecking in a small yard and pigs were rolling in a mud swamp.’
    • ‘It started at age five when I got pecked on the head by an emu.’
    bite, nip, strike, hit, tap, rap, jab, poke, prick
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1with object Make (a hole) by striking with the beak.
      ‘robins are the worst culprits, pecking holes in every cherry’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Apparently the crow pecks a small hole in the toad to get at the liver.’
    2. 1.2with object Kiss (someone) lightly or perfunctorily.
      ‘she pecked him on the cheek’
      • ‘He smiled, walked over, and pecked her on the cheek.’
      • ‘I smiled back and pecked him lightly on the cheek.’
      • ‘My dad pecks me on the forehead and leaves with my mom.’
      • ‘Leaning in slowly, he pecks me on the cheek and says goodbye before walking out the door.’
      • ‘She pecked him on the cheek and he kissed her forehead.’
      • ‘‘Absolutely,’ he responded, pecking me on the cheek again before taking my hand, leading me onto the ice.’
      • ‘Eugene smiled at her and pecked her on the cheek.’
      • ‘Sasha smiles at him then quickly pecks him on the lips.’
      • ‘Maddie waltzed over to her father, pecking him quickly on the cheek.’
      • ‘Ashton pulled back from our hot kiss and pecked me once for good measure.’
      • ‘‘Thank you for the flowers you sent me,’ she said, pecking him on the cheek.’
      • ‘‘Thank you,’ I replied and quickly pecked him on the cheek and began eating.’
      • ‘He pecked her on the lips and grabbed his jacket.’
      • ‘He glowered at her, and she giggled, then pecked him a quick kiss on the cheek and leaped off to another tree.’
      • ‘‘Well, I didn't know I had that effect on you, my love,’ he said, pecking me once quickly on the lips.’
      • ‘He pecked her lightly on the lips before heading toward the door.’
      • ‘She pecked me on the cheek, lightly, and headed upstairs.’
      • ‘I take a deep breath and lean forward, standing on my tiptoes to peck him lightly on the mouth.’
      • ‘She pecked him on the lips daintily, as though a kiss was her reward for having found him.’
      • ‘I pecked him on the cheek, grabbed the suitcase and hopped out.’
      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’
      • ‘I was determined not to spend the rest of my life as ‘Fatty the gargantuan’ and so I just pecked at my food, ignoring my rebellious stomach, which was screaming for food like an overweight baby.’
      • ‘These dishes were small and neatly packaged, and before long, I found myself pecking at my food in an appraising, sensitive way, and nibbling in tiny little bites.’
      • ‘She made a pretence of pecking at her food, then excused herself and retreated to her rooms.’
      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. 1.4with object Type (something) laboriously.
      ‘Paul was pecking out letters with two fingers on his typewriter’
      • ‘Turning it lengthwise she tediously pecked in a couple of commands on a tiny keypad with her nail.’
      • ‘This allowed them to input small amounts of text data quickly without having to peck at a tiny keyboard with their fingers.’
      • ‘Trading is now done rather demurely, by pecking at a keyboard.’
      • ‘Four middle-aged guys, dressed business-casual, are sitting at a long desk in an off-white room, sifting through files and pecking at laptops.’
      • ‘I'm in the study, pecking away at my keyboard, the window at my side thrown wide open to let the overnight air out of the house.’
      • ‘They eat dinner on trays in the living room, where their daughter pecks away at a homework assignment on an aged computer.’
      • ‘Seri was pecking away at the keyboard, he seemed very into something.’
      • ‘Rather than peck away and publish, Kathy would go away and think.’
      • ‘The challenge of creating a keyboard for handheld devices was that such a product would have to be large enough for human fingers to peck at but small enough to work with a portable.’
      • ‘The right thumb pecks away at a phone number; the other presses the lonely ‘send’ key to the left of the screen.’
      • ‘It's a simple stream-of-consciousness bit, pecked out on my laptop during a recent mini-tour that took in Wisconsin, California, and Arizona.’
      • ‘Then, chin pointed up arrogantly, she went back to pecking away at the bleach-white keyboard before her.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ace, not liking his perch to have been taken, came down and gave a sharp peck on Jerome's hand.’
    • ‘Patience finally paid off as one hopped slowly, slowly towards me and I felt the peck of a tiny beak in my hand.’
    • ‘The mother bird started to peck at me, but I dodged all the pecks and hit her beak with my mace.’
    • ‘Ratios of pecks per pace were calculated to estimate foraging rate at the time and place of observation.’
    • ‘Arrow flipped under her and gave her a quick peck underneath her beak.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 A light or perfunctory kiss.
      ‘a fatherly peck on the cheek’
      • ‘What had started out as an innocent peck suddenly turned into something more.’
      • ‘She wanted to kiss him, even a gentle peck on the cheek, but she didn't think that it would be appropriate.’
      • ‘She didn't know if she was expecting a hug, a peck on the cheek or a kiss.’
      • ‘It wasn't even a kiss to her, maybe just a peck on the cheek, but that was all.’
      • ‘She stepped towards him and gave him a quick peck on the lips.’
      • ‘Not just a peck on the cheek, a really passionate kiss.’
      • ‘He says ‘Goodbye, dear’ and gives her a peck on the cheek at their door.’
      • ‘Jason shared an intimate embrace and a self-conscious peck with Antoine.’
      • ‘He embraced her, as she gave him a peck on the lips.’
      • ‘Without even a peck, Julio turns away down the thick stone steps and runs.’
      • ‘I didn't want a peck on the cheek to be my goodnight kiss.’
      • ‘I gave him a peck on the lips and went back downstairs.’
      • ‘James dropped a quick peck onto his mother's cheek and slid onto a bar stool where bacon and eggs awaited him.’
      • ‘She greeted Alex with a quick peck on both cheeks, then immediately turned her gaze to Evan.’
      • ‘Lola dotes on him hand and foot, trying to rekindle his emotions, but earns only a perfunctory peck on the cheek at best.’
      • ‘Devon gave me a quick peck on the lips and stroked my hair.’
      • ‘We said goodbye and he gave me a peck on the cheek.’
      • ‘He gave her a light peck on the cheek and then returned to his own room.’
      • ‘Cordially, he gave Megan a peck on the cheek and Kayla a quick kiss across the lips.’
      • ‘He was changing a light bulb and she gave him a peck on the cheek, and he was in shock.’
  • 2archaic, informal 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 litres, 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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Proceeding in January to the border of a frozen truck-farm, a peck of seeds with husks and other fragments was quickly gathered.’
      • ‘As my old Mum used to say, ‘You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die’.’

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/