Share this entry

Share this page

peacock

Syllabification: pea·cock
Pronunciation: /ˈpēˌkäk
 
/

Definition of peacock in English:

noun

1A male peafowl, which has very long tail feathers that have eyelike markings and that can be erected and expanded in display like a fan.
Example sentences
  • It should be noted that a peacock is a male peafowl and a peahen is a female peafowl.
  • Male peacocks shed and re-grow tail feathers each year.
  • For instance, male peacocks not only have a long tail, but they are brightly colored and have eye spots, a crest on their head, spurs on their feet, and a mating call.
1.1An ostentatious strutting person: these young men have always considered themselves the peacocks of Europe
More example sentences
  • Both sons are strutting peacocks, vain and confident.
  • We're just peacocks flaunting our tail feathers.

verb

[no object] Back to top  
Display oneself ostentatiously; strut like a peacock: he peacocks in front of the full-length mirror

Origin

Middle English: from Old English pēa (from Latin pavo) 'peacock' + cock1.

More
  • pea from (mid 16th century):

    You could not eat a pea until the mid 17th century. The earlier form was pease, which people began to think was a plural, so that if you had a handful of peas you must be able to have one pea ( compare cherry). The original is recorded in Old English, and goes back to Greek pison; it survives in pease pudding, for boiled split peas mashed to a pulp. The pea of peacock has no connection—it derives from Latin pavo ‘peacock’, which appears as pea in Old English and was combined with cock ‘male bird’ in Middle English. Nor does a pea jacket have anything to do with peas. It is an early 18th-century half-hearted translation of Dutch pijjackker formed from pij ‘coarse woollen cloth’ (found in Middle English as pee) and jekker ‘jacket’.

Words that rhyme with peacock

Leacock, seacock

Definition of peacock in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day tenebrous
Pronunciation: ˈtɛnɪbrəs
adjective
dark; shadowy or obscure