Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A woodpecker.
  • noun Offensive Slang Used as a disparaging term for a poor white person.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun southern US, slang A woodpecker.
  • noun southern US A peckerwood sawmill.
  • noun US, offensive, slang A white person, especially a Southerner, or one who is ignorant, rustic, or bigoted.
  • noun prison slang A white (male) inmate, especially one who is racist or who is a member of a race-based prison gang.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun bird with strong claws and a stiff tail adapted for climbing and a hard chisel-like bill for boring into wood for insects

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Alteration (by transposition of the two members of the compound) of woodpecker.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Inversion of woodpecker. Application to white people is due to the perception that the woodpecker is a symbol of whites, whereas the crow is a symbol of blacks.

Examples

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