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

  • adjective Ill-tempered; irritable.
  • adjective Chiefly British Somewhat hungry.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Inclined to eat; appetized; somewhat, hungry.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective colloq. Inclined to eat; hungry.

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

  • adjective colloquial irritable; crotchety
  • adjective colloquial Of or pertaining to Peckham, a place in Southwark London.
  • adjective colloquial Native to Peckham.

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

  • adjective somewhat hungry
  • adjective easily irritated or annoyed


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

[From peck, to eat.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

peck (“(verb)”) +‎ -ish


  • Where I come from "peckish" means hungry, or did back when people said "peckish."

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  • Meanwhile, my eyes are really dry and I'd like to put eye drops in so I can reinsert my contacts soon, and I'm feeling kind of peckish, but my pupils show no signs of undilating and I'd prefer not to be caught here, glazed and snarfing chips.

    Mmmmm, eye drops.

  • Then he stated that the beer was the best he had ever tasted, except in Bavaria, and in some parts of Spain, he added; and professing to be extremely "peckish," requested to know if there were any cold meat in the house whereof he could make a dinner.

    Men's Wives

  • He was getting what ha called "peckish" now, and was just going to the coffee-room of the Victoria Hotel with the intention of ordering a steak and a glass of brandy-and-water -- Mr. Carter never took beer, which is a sleepy beverage, inimical to that perpetual clearness of intellect necessary to a detective -- when he changed his mind, and walked back to the edge of the quay, to prowl along once more with his hands in his pockets, looking at the vessels, and to take another inspection of the deck and captain of the _Crow_.

    Henry Dunbar A Novel

  • Then the moment the creme brulees and tiramisus arrived he would say he was still a little peckish and join us after all with an ice cream.

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  • If you're peckish, they serve tuna, meat and vegetable empanadas.

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  • They've been waiting a long time for this and will be peckish.

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  • If you're peckish, they serve tuna, meat and vegetable empanadas.

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  • It could go further - a designated 'packed lunch' storage area, so Seb and Trinny can return to pick up the crustless salmon sarnies and houmous Mum prepared for when they get a tad peckish.

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  • Breakfast is fruit and if I'm a bit peckish, wholewheat toast and butter.

    Louis Smith: 'I make a good roast duck. I won Ready Steady Cook with it'


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  • When I am feeling famished I will often say I am past the point of peckishness

    December 13, 2006

  • When you are past the point of peckishness, you may be ravishing;-)

    July 17, 2007

  • For some reason I feel like this is a British thing. What do you all think?

    July 17, 2007

  • That comes to mind. I'm just speculating here, but the phrase "feelin' a mite peckish" also seems rather American (deep south) to me.

    July 17, 2007

  • I remember hearing that there are, or recently were, isolated pockets of the south where near-Elizabethan English was still spoken. You could both be right.

    July 17, 2007

  • FWIW--American Heritage says "chiefly British"

    July 17, 2007

  • We are both right - and I was totally thinking of that same phrase. c.f O Brother, Where Art Thou?:

    Big Dan Teague: "Thank you boys for throwin' in that fricassee. I'm a man of large appetite, and even with lunch under my belt, I was feelin' a mite peckish."

    July 17, 2007

  • I knew it!! I just watched that again a couple days ago. One of my favorite movies. The phrase must have still been bouncing around in my subconscious. ;-)

    July 17, 2007

  • I love that movie too. Time for me to watch it again.

    July 17, 2007