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 bird waited below, pecking furiously at its own neck.’
    • ‘I got quite used to tiny black Tussock birds pecking matter-of-factly at my shoes.’
    • ‘People stuck outside were getting pecked by thousands of birds at a time.’
    • ‘The cassowary pecks the ground, gobbling fat worms with quick chops of its beak.’
    • ‘Its strong, sharp beak pecked sharply at Wayne's exposed forearm.’
    • ‘Chickens were pecking in a small yard and pigs were rolling in a mud swamp.’
    • ‘Almost all of his grass has been pecked up by birds in search of a tasty meal.’
    • ‘The woodpecker was pecking away at some stupid tree.’
    • ‘The rooster and hens came squawking and pecking around his feet.’
    • ‘The hens also have helped control scorpions - they peck off the stinger and then work on the rest.’
    • ‘At first it was thought Pebbles had been pecked by a bird or had been fighting with another cat.’
    • ‘It started at age five when I got pecked on the head by an emu.’
    • ‘A small, red chicken was pecking around in the grass, near the fence.’
    • ‘Farmers trim from a third to a half of the beaks off chickens, turkeys, and ducks to cut losses from poultry pecking each other.’
    • ‘Subdued chickens peck around the dirt for any trace of discarded food.’
    • ‘The chickens are pecking, the cows are mooing, and the pigs are, well, eating slop.’
    • ‘A bird pecking for food a few steps ahead of me sensed my approach and flew off the ground and disappeared into the woods.’
    • ‘Mrs Wheeler said she thought the noise made by the burglars was the bad weather or birds pecking on the roof.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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. 1.2with object Kiss (someone) lightly or perfunctorily.
      ‘she pecked him on the cheek’
      • ‘Maddie waltzed over to her father, pecking him quickly on the cheek.’
      • ‘I pecked him on the cheek, grabbed the suitcase and hopped out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Eugene smiled at her and pecked her on the cheek.’
      • ‘He glowered at her, and she giggled, then pecked him a quick kiss on the cheek and leaped off to another tree.’
      • ‘She pecked him on the cheek and he kissed her forehead.’
      • ‘I take a deep breath and lean forward, standing on my tiptoes to peck him lightly on the mouth.’
      • ‘‘Thank you for the flowers you sent me,’ she said, pecking him on the cheek.’
      • ‘Sasha smiles at him then quickly pecks him on the lips.’
      • ‘She pecked him on the lips daintily, as though a kiss was her reward for having found him.’
      • ‘‘Absolutely,’ he responded, pecking me on the cheek again before taking my hand, leading me onto the ice.’
      • ‘He pecked her lightly on the lips before heading toward the door.’
      • ‘‘Well, I didn't know I had that effect on you, my love,’ he said, pecking me once quickly on the lips.’
      • ‘I smiled back and pecked him lightly on the cheek.’
      • ‘He smiled, walked over, and pecked her on the cheek.’
      • ‘He pecked her on the lips and grabbed his jacket.’
      • ‘Ashton pulled back from our hot kiss and pecked me once for good measure.’
      • ‘She pecked me on the cheek, lightly, and headed upstairs.’
      • ‘‘Thank you,’ I replied and quickly pecked him on the cheek and began eating.’
      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.’
      • ‘She made a pretence of pecking at her food, then excused herself and retreated to her rooms.’
      • ‘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.’
      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. 1.4peck atno object Criticize or nag.
      ‘defects for a critic to peck at’
    5. 1.5with object Type (something) slowly and laboriously.
      ‘his son Paul was pecking out letters with two fingers on his typewriter’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They eat dinner on trays in the living room, where their daughter pecks away at a homework assignment on an aged computer.’
      • ‘Turning it lengthwise she tediously pecked in a couple of commands on a tiny keypad with her nail.’
      • ‘Rather than peck away and publish, Kathy would go away and think.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Seri was pecking away at the keyboard, he seemed very into something.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then, chin pointed up arrogantly, she went back to pecking away at the bleach-white keyboard before her.’
      • ‘The right thumb pecks away at a phone number; the other presses the lonely ‘send’ key to the left of the screen.’
    6. 1.6archaic 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’
    • ‘Ace, not liking his perch to have been taken, came down and gave a sharp peck on Jerome's hand.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The mother bird started to peck at me, but I dodged all the pecks and hit her beak with my mace.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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’
      • ‘Without even a peck, Julio turns away down the thick stone steps and runs.’
      • ‘Jason shared an intimate embrace and a self-conscious peck with Antoine.’
      • ‘He was changing a light bulb and she gave him a peck on the cheek, and he was in shock.’
      • ‘She wanted to kiss him, even a gentle peck on the cheek, but she didn't think that it would be appropriate.’
      • ‘We said goodbye and he gave me a peck on the cheek.’
      • ‘What had started out as an innocent peck suddenly turned into something more.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He gave her a light peck on the cheek and then returned to his own room.’
      • ‘He says ‘Goodbye, dear’ and gives her a peck on the cheek at their door.’
      • ‘James dropped a quick peck onto his mother's cheek and slid onto a bar stool where bacon and eggs awaited him.’
      • ‘He embraced her, as she gave him a peck on the lips.’
      • ‘Lola dotes on him hand and foot, trying to rekindle his emotions, but earns only a perfunctory peck on the cheek at best.’
      • ‘Not just a peck on the cheek, a really passionate kiss.’
      • ‘I gave him a peck on the lips and went back downstairs.’
      • ‘I didn't want a peck on the cheek to be my goodnight kiss.’
      • ‘Cordially, he gave Megan a peck on the cheek and Kayla a quick kiss across the lips.’
      • ‘She greeted Alex with a quick peck on both cheeks, then immediately turned her gaze to Evan.’
      • ‘She stepped towards him and gave him a quick peck on the lips.’
      • ‘Devon gave me a quick peck on the lips and stroked my hair.’
  • 2informal, archaic 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//pek/

Main definitions of peck in English

: peck1peck2peck3

peck2

noun

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

    • ‘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’
      • ‘We all have to eat a peck of dirt, the saying goes, but some of us enjoy it more than others.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

peck

/pek//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//pek/