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’
    • ‘The cassowary pecks the ground, gobbling fat worms with quick chops of its beak.’
    • ‘The hens also have helped control scorpions - they peck off the stinger and then work on the rest.’
    • ‘The bird waited below, pecking furiously at its own neck.’
    • ‘Birds sang more clearly now, and woodpeckers pecked with more zest than they had heard the night before.’
    • ‘Outside Pittsburgh he'd found her flowered hat floating in a pond, half pecked apart by birds.’
    • ‘Chickens were pecking in a small yard and pigs were rolling in a mud swamp.’
    • ‘The rooster and hens came squawking and pecking around his feet.’
    • ‘Almost all of his grass has been pecked up by birds in search of a tasty meal.’
    • ‘A small, red chicken was pecking around in the grass, near the fence.’
    • ‘The woodpecker was pecking away at some stupid tree.’
    • ‘Subdued chickens peck around the dirt for any trace of discarded food.’
    • ‘At first it was thought Pebbles had been pecked by a bird or had been fighting with another cat.’
    • ‘People stuck outside were getting pecked by thousands of birds at a time.’
    • ‘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 chickens are pecking, the cows are mooing, and the pigs are, well, eating slop.’
    • ‘Its strong, sharp beak pecked sharply at Wayne's exposed forearm.’
    • ‘It started at age five when I got pecked on the head by an emu.’
    • ‘A bird pecking for food a few steps ahead of me sensed my approach and flew off the ground and disappeared into the woods.’
    • ‘I got quite used to tiny black Tussock birds pecking matter-of-factly at my shoes.’
    • ‘Mrs Wheeler said she thought the noise made by the burglars was the bad weather or birds pecking on the roof.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Apparently the crow pecks a small hole in the toad to get at the liver.’
    2. 1.2[with object]Kiss (someone) lightly or perfunctorily.
      ‘she pecked him on the cheek’
    3. 1.3informal [no object](of a person) eat (food) listlessly or daintily.
      ‘don't peck at your food, eat a whole mouthful’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Peck rates were recorded by counting the number of pecks during a period of continuous head-down posture, which was timed with a stopwatch.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Ace, not liking his perch to have been taken, came down and gave a sharp peck on Jerome's hand.’
    • ‘Arrow flipped under her and gave her a quick peck underneath her beak.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1A 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).

    • ‘America is now the last major power to retain feet and gallons and bushels and pecks.’
    • ‘If you don't know your bushel from your peck take a look.’
    1. 1.1archaic A large number or amount of something.
      ‘a peck of dirt’
      • ‘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’.’
      • ‘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/