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henpeck (someone)

Of a woman, to thoroughly and continually dominate, intimidate, bully, or browbeat (a man), especially her boyfriend, partner, or husband. Janet is usually so nice, but when she's around her husband, she just henpecks him relentlessly.
See also: henpeck


Of a man, thoroughly and continually dominated, intimidated, bullied, or browbeaten by a woman, especially his wife or girlfriend. John used to be the most adventurous, spontaneous guy I knew, but since he got married, he's become totally henpecked. I hope I never become some henpecked husband like my father was.
See also: henpeck

pecking order

The hierarchy within a group or organization. There's definitely a pecking order in this company, and you're not going to do well if you don't know your place.
See also: order, peck

bushel and a peck (and some in a gourd)

A lot. This phrase is typically used to emphasize how much one loves someone else. My darling wife, I love you a bushel and a peck.
See also: and, bushel, peck

bushel and a peck (and some in a gourd)

Rur. a great deal or amount. (Usually used to answer the question, "How much do you love me?") Mary: How much do you love me? Tom: A bushel and a peck and some in a gourd. We knew that Grandpa loved us a bushel and a peck.
See also: and, bushel, peck

If that don't beat a pig a-pecking!

Rur. That's amazing! Tom: A Republican won the Senate seat! Jane: If that don't beat a pig a-pecking! Mary: Jim lost twenty pounds in one month. Charlie: If that don't beat a pig a-pecking!
See also: beat, if, pig, that

peck at something

1. Lit. [for a bird] to poke someone or something with its beak. The bird pecked at the ground, snatching up the ants. I tried to hold on to the bird but it pecked at me hard.
2. Fig. [for someone] to eat just a little bit of something, being as picky as a bird. Are you well, Betty? You are just pecking at your food. Please don't peck at your food. You should eat everything.
See also: peck

peck something up

[for a bird] to eat something up by pecking at it. The chickens pecked all the grain up. The birds pecked up the grain.
See also: peck, up

You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.

Prov. No one can escape eating a certain amount of dirt on his or her food.; Everyone must endure a number of unpleasant things in his or her lifetime. (Often said to console someone who has eaten some dirt or had to endure something unpleasant.) Ellen: Oh, no! I forgot to wash this apple before I took a bite out of it. Fred: You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.
See also: before, die, dirt, eat, have, of, peck

pecking order

The hierarchy of authority in a group, as in On a space mission, the astronauts have a definite pecking order. This expression, invented in the 1920s by biologists who discovered that domestic poultry maintain such a hierarchy with one bird pecking another of lower status, was transferred to human behavior in the 1950s.
See also: order, peck

the pecking order

COMMON The pecking order in a group is the order of importance of the people or things within that group. Offices came in 29 sizes, according to your place in the company's pecking order. The British Medical Association issued a warning that doctors may be forced to draw up a pecking order of operations. Note: When groups of hens are kept together, a `pecking order' tends to form. This means that a stronger bird can peck a weaker bird without being pecked in return.
See also: order, peck

pecking order

a hierarchy of status observed among a group of people or animals.
The expression originally referred literally to chickens and other birds, the more dominant of which in a group get to feed before the others.
See also: order, peck

a/the ˈpecking order

(informal, often humorous) the way a group is organized, with some members being more important or powerful than others: You don’t get a company car unless you’re pretty high up in the pecking order.This expression was first used by a scientist in the 1920s after studying groups of birds; he noticed there was an order when birds were feeding, with the strongest birds eating first.
See also: order, peck

peck at

To eat something unenthusiastically by taking small bites: The sullen child only pecked at his carrots.
See also: peck

peck out

To remove something by pecking: The birds pecked the worms out of the apples. The vultures pecked out the dead rabbit's innards.
See also: out, peck


and pecs and pects (pɛk(t)s)
n. the pectoral muscles. (From weightlifting and bodybuilding.) Look at the pecks on that guy!
See also: peck

Peck's bad boy

A mischief maker. “Peck's Bad Boy'' was the nickname of Hennery, a character created by 19th-century newspaperman George Wilbur Peck. Hennery played pranks on friends, neighbors, and especially his alcoholic father. These stories were later compiled into books, and the character of Hennery appeared in a number of early motion pictures. The phrase “Peck's bad boy'' was applied to someone, usually a youngster, whose impish behavior plagued those around him.
See also: bad, boy
References in classic literature ?
But the sparrow crept under the tilt of the cart, and pecked at the bung of one of the casks till she loosened it; and than all the wine ran out, without the carter seeing it.
In vain she nibbled at the bread and butter and pecked at the crab-apple preserve out of the little scalloped glass dish by her plate.
And she picked and pecked until Grandfather King declared he would like to throw something at her.
They stood and looked in my eye or pecked at my shoe significantly.
He now fluttered down into the grass, turned his head gracefully on every side, and with his bill pecked the pliant blades of grass, which, in comparison to his present size, seemed as majestic as the palm-branches of northern Africa.
They pecked and pecked so hard at that enormous nose that in a few moments, it was the same size as before.
always found out some day or other and pecked out of the cage by the real daws.