pecking order


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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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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 American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

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
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

pecking order

The hierarchy of authority in a group. The term was invented by biologists in the 1920s to characterize the behavior of hens, who established their barnyard authority by one bird pecking another of lower status. It was transferred to human behavior in the mid-1900s. Lawrence Durrell maintained, “There is a pecking order among diplomats as there is among poultry” (Justine, 1957).
See also: order, peck
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Coal tits seem always to be way down the pecking order. My resident coal tit therefore makes very brief journeys to the bird-table.
Shyam-Sunder and Myers (1999) introduced the model for testing the pecking order theory for firms.
Many empirical studies have supported the pecking order theory primarily based on the negative profitability-leverage relationship.
The seminal paper by Shyam-Sunder and Myers (1999) introduces an empirical test for the pecking order theory.
Gavin henson today reveals how he stormed out of Graham Henry's Welsh camp after the arrival of pounds 1.5m man Iestyn Harris led to him going down the fly-half pecking order. Henson's revelations come in part two of the Western Mail's extracts from his new book, My Grand Slam Year, which are published today.
CROWS and falcons are top of the pecking order in bird intelligence, it was revealed today.
Bennett is desperate for first-team football and sees a transfer as his best option since he has moved down the pecking order after the arrival of Northern Ireland's Maik Taylor.
When multiple physicians are involved in the management of a patient they quickly fall into a "pecking order" that allows the physician with primary responsibility to have dominant status.
The Pecking Order is a fun read with a serious intent-both a study of the family and a symptom of our fascination with it.
In this vicious pecking order, males at the top bully bottom dwellers into a demoralized state of submission.
Amateurs held a higher place in golf's pecking order than the vagabonds organized loosely in 1916 under the Professional Golfers Association banner.
We know, from the start, that girls are going to be short-changed compared to boys, given the nature of the sources and the pecking order of medieval views about the two sexes.
The pecking order within New York City's real estate brokerages remain in flux.