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Pecking order

Posted by David FG on May 29, 2011 at 08:01

In Reply to: Pecking order posted by Buford on May 25, 2011 at 06:59:

: Where did "pecking order" and "hen pecked" originate? Same source but different meanings?

As far as 'pecking order' goes:

From the "Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins" by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997): "The famous study made by biologists W.C. Allee in the 1920s establishes that the pecking order among hens has a definite prestige pattern, hens, like many humans, freely peck at other hens below their rank and submit to pecking from those above them."

'Hen-pecked' alludes to the supposedly unusual situation in which a hen would dominate a cock/rooster by pecking at him.