Definitions

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

  • n. 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).
  • n. The social hierarchy in a flock of domestic fowl in which each bird pecks subordinate birds and submits to being pecked by dominant birds.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The usually informal hierarchy of authority or command, often partial or approximate, as determined by the especially natural propensity for domination of different members of a specific group over each other, such as older brothers and sisters over their younger siblings.

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

  • n. the organization of people at different ranks in an administrative body

Etymologies

Sorry, no etymologies found.

Examples

  • I’m probably not unique in making this mistake, but in modern American middle-class experience one hears the term pecking order and one reflexively locates oneself right smack, well, in the middle.

    MY EMPIRE OF DIRT

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