peck

1 of 3

noun (1)

1
: a unit of capacity equal to ¹/₄ bushel see Weights and Measures Table
2
: a large quantity or number

peck

2 of 3

verb

pecked; pecking; pecks

transitive verb

1
a
: to strike or pierce especially repeatedly with the bill or a pointed tool
b
: to make by pecking
peck a hole
2
: to pick up with the bill

intransitive verb

1
a
: to strike, pierce, or pick up something with or as if with the bill
b
: carp, nag
2
: to eat reluctantly and in small bites
peck at food

peck

3 of 3

noun (2)

1
: an impression or hole made by pecking
2
: a quick sharp stroke
3
: a quick light kiss
a peck on the cheek

Examples of peck in a Sentence

Verb The hen pecked my finger. The woodpecker pecked a hole in the tree. He pecked his wife on the cheek as he headed out the door.
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
During the bugs’ emergence, however, when birds shifted their attention toward the cicada smorgasbord, only 10 percent of the clay caterpillars had peck marks on them. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Oct. 2023 Heidi Klum gave Sofía Vergara a peck on the cheek at George Clooney and Amal Clooney's second annual Albie Awards in New York City on Thursday. Esther Kang, Peoplemag, 29 Sep. 2023 And not just a little peck on the cheek, but sucking face. Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times, 29 Sep. 2023 The heartwarming moment immediately made the rounds on social media, as a video circulated of Swift hugging the 6-year-old and giving her a peck on the cheek. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 31 Aug. 2023 People’s photo gallery also included a pic of Madonna giving Spears a peck on the lips, sparking memories of their iconic kiss at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2003. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, 23 Aug. 2023 The heartwarming moment made the rounds Friday morning, as a video circulated on social media of Swift hugging the 6-year-old and giving her a peck on the cheek. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, 4 Aug. 2023 Chris Young made things at least a little easier on everyone by acquiring a peck of pitchers who all have familiarity with the pitching coach. Evan Grant, Dallas News, 2 Aug. 2023 There’s the odd, almost absurdist sense of fan fiction being writ large in witnessing this peck of Peters counseling each other over tragedies, joking with each other about web-shooter issues. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 23 Dec. 2021
Verb
The fact that this bird is exhibiting outgoing behavior, even aggressive, by pecking on windows is amazing to me. Taylor Piephoff, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024 The carving was likely made by pecking the contours using a lithic tool or a handpick. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 2 Jan. 2024 The study team had trained female finches to peck keys that would play back specific recordings of these birdsongs. Olivia Ferrari, Scientific American, 12 Dec. 2023 The Buried Secrets actress then placed the pumpkin on the floor of her chicken coop where several of her chickens gathered around to peck away at the edible Halloween decor. Angel Saunders, Peoplemag, 19 Oct. 2023 There is plenty of piercing and pecking and pricking in the witchcraft testimony, as there were plenty of knees soldered together and chests thrust skyward. Stacy Schiff, The New York Review of Books, 22 Dec. 2022 Some will even let humans reach into their nest and pick up their chicks—an intrusion that would send other birds into a screeching, pecking rage. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 17 Oct. 2023 Canada geese were pecking in the mud along the edge of the Truckee River. William T. Vollmann, Harper's Magazine, 16 Oct. 2023 His task was to search the ground carefully for carcasses amid layers of excrement as the birds pecked frantically at his hands and feet. Hannah Dreier Meridith Kohut, New York Times, 18 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'peck.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English pek, from Anglo-French

Verb

Middle English, perhaps from Middle Low German pekken

First Known Use

Noun (1)

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (2)

circa 1591, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of peck was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near peck

Cite this Entry

“Peck.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/peck. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

peck

1 of 3 noun
1
: a unit of capacity equal to ¼ bushel see measure
2
: a large quantity
a peck of trouble

peck

2 of 3 verb
1
a
: to strike with the bill : thrust the beak into
b
: to make by pecking
peck holes
2
: to strike with a sharp instrument (as a pick)
3
: to pick up with the bill
a chicken pecking corn
4
: to bite daintily : nibble
peck at one's food

peck

3 of 3 noun
1
: a mark or hole made by pecking
2
: a quick sharp stroke
Etymology

Noun

Middle English pek "unit of measure," from early French pek (same meaning)

Verb

Middle English pecken "to strike or pierce repeatedly," perhaps from early German pekken (same meaning)

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