mid-12c., pekking, "the pecking of birds," verbal noun from peck (v.). As a description of a pattern of behavior among hens, pecking order (1928) translates German hackliste (T.J. Schjelderuo-Ebbe, 1922); the transferred sense of "human hierarchy based on rank or status" is by 1955.
updated on March 10, 2020
Dictionary entries near pecking
Peck's bad boy