verb (used with object)
- to strike or indent with the beak, as a bird does, or with some pointed instrument, especially with quick, repeated movements.
- to make (a hole, puncture, etc.) by such strokes; pierce.
- to take (food) bit by bit, with or as with the beak.
verb (used without object)
- to make strokes with the beak or a pointed instrument.
- a quick stroke, as in pecking.
- a hole or mark made by or as by pecking.
- a quick, almost impersonal kiss: a peck on the cheek.
- (in timber) incipient decay from fungi, occurring in isolated spots.
- pecks. Also peck·ings. Slang. food.
- peck at,
- to nibble indifferently or unenthusiastically at (food).
- to nag or carp at: Stop pecking at me, I’m doing the best I can.
- a unit of dry measure equal to 8 quarts or one quarter of a bushel
- a container used for measuring this quantity
- a large quantity or number
- (when intr, sometimes foll by at) to strike with the beak or with a pointed instrument
- (tr sometimes foll by out) to dig (a hole) by pecking
- (tr) (of birds) to pick up (corn, worms, etc) by pecking
- (intr often foll by at) to nibble or pick (at one’s food)
- informal to kiss (a person) quickly and lightly
- (intr foll by at) to nag
- a quick light blow, esp from a bird’s beak
- a mark made by such a blow
- informal a quick light kiss
- Gregory. 1916–2003, US film actor; his films include Keys of the Kingdom (1944), The Gunfighter (1950), The Big Country (1958), To Kill a Mockingbird (1963), The Omen (1976), and Other People’s Money (1991)
v.c.1300, possibly a variant of picken (see pick (v.)), or in part from Middle Low German pekken “to peck with the beak.” Related: Pecked; pecking. n.1late 13c., “dry measure of one-quarter bushel,” of unknown origin; perhaps connected with Old French pek, picot (13c.), also of unknown origin (Barnhart says these were borrowed from English). Chiefly of oats for horses; original sense may be “allowance” rather than a fixed measure, thus perhaps from peck (v.). n.2“act of pecking,” 1610s, from peck (v.). It is attested earlier in thieves’ slang (1560s) with a sense of “food, grub.”