pea·​fowl ˈpē-ˌfau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce peafowl (audio)
: any of three very large terrestrial pheasants (Pavo cristatus and P. muticus of southeastern Asia and Afropavo congensis of central Africa) often raised as ornamental fowls due to their usually colorful, iridescent plumage and especially for the long, trailing tail coverts of the male which can be held more or less erect and outspread see also peacock, peahen

Illustration of peafowl

Illustration of peafowl
  • A female (peahen); B male (peacock)

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web The South Pasadena peafowl population has spiked dramatically in the last year. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Jan. 2023 Try finding a new home for four alligators, three pythons, two Asiatic black bears, two tigers and a lion, plus a pair of miniature horses, 11 peafowl, a raccoon, a jittery squirrel monkey and a 150-pound potbellied pig named Snorkel. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, 28 Dec. 2022 South Pasadena Mayor Pro Tem Jon Primuth said the ordinance was as important as the peafowl removal. oregonlive, 14 Jan. 2023 For years, peafowl have called Los Angeles County home, and residents have disputed how to best handle the roughly ten-pound birds. Margaret Osborne, Smithsonian Magazine, 10 Jan. 2023 Every Thursday, the peafowl could be seen chasing the garbage truck. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, 5 July 2022 The birds included flamingos, ostrich, cassowary, sandhill cranes, all birds housed in the Matilda R. Wilson Free-Flight Aviary and peafowl that roam the zoo. Christina Hall, Detroit Free Press, 18 Apr. 2022 Male peafowl are called peacocks; females are referred to as peahens. Paighten Harkins, The Salt Lake Tribune, 17 Mar. 2022 Instead, the county will contract with wildlife expert Mike Maxcy, who worked at the Los Angeles Zoo for 33 years and has relocated peafowl to ranches and resorts since 1999. Jaclyn Cosgrove, Los Angeles Times, 1 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'peafowl.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


pea- (as in peacock) + fowl

First Known Use

circa 1790, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of peafowl was circa 1790

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Cite this Entry

“Peafowl.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Mar. 2023.

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