pecking orderpeck·ing order
- a hierarchy among birds, as a flock of hens, based on aggressive pecking in which the most dominant bird pecks all others, the second most dominant bird pecks all others except the most dominant, etc.
- Informal a hierarchy of the members of any group according to relative power, importance, etc.: the office pecking order
Origin of pecking ordercalque of German hackordnung
Also peck order
- A hierarchy among a group, as of people, classes, or nations: “The astronauts had developed a pecking order that was military in its rigidity” (Tom Wolfe).
- The social hierarchy in a flock of domestic fowl in which each bird pecks subordinate birds and submits to being pecked by dominant birds.
(plural pecking orders)