pecking order

noun
variants: or less commonly peck order
|Updated on: 14 Jun 2018

Definition of pecking order

1 : the basic pattern of social organization within a flock of poultry in which each bird pecks another lower in the scale without fear of retaliation and submits to pecking by one of higher rank; broadly : a dominance hierarchy in a group of social animals
2 : a social hierarchy

Examples of pecking order in a Sentence

  1. As an assistant manager, he was pretty low in the company's pecking order.

  2. the pecking order of Washington politics

Recent Examples of pecking order from the Web

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

First Known Use of pecking order

1927

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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PECKING ORDER Defined for English Language Learners

pecking order

Definition of pecking order for English Language Learners

  • : the way in which people or things in a group or organization are placed in a series of levels with different importance or status


Medical Dictionary

pecking order

noun peck·ing order \ ˈpek-iŋ-ˌ \
variants: also peck order play \ˈpek-ˌ\

medical Definition of pecking order

: the basic pattern of social organization within a flock of poultry in which each bird pecks another lower in the scale without fear of retaliation and submits to pecking by one of higher rank — compare cannibalism 3, dominance a

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