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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