noun, plural pea·cocks, (especially collectively) pea·cock.

  1. the male of the peafowl distinguished by its long, erectile, greenish, iridescent tail coverts that are brilliantly marked with ocellated spots and that can be spread in a fan.
  2. any peafowl.
  3. a vain, self-conscious person.
  4. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Pavo.

verb (used without object)

  1. to make a vainglorious display; strut like a peacock.


  1. Thomas Love. 1785–1866, English novelist and poet, noted for his satirical romances, including Headlong Hall (1816) and Nightmare Abbey (1818)

noun plural -cocks or -cock

  1. a male peafowl, having a crested head and a very large fanlike tail marked with blue and green eyelike spotsRelated adjective: pavonine
  2. another name for peafowl
  3. a vain strutting person


  1. to display (oneself) proudly
  2. obsolete, slang, Australian to acquire (the best pieces of land) in such a way that the surrounding land is useless to others

n.c.1300, poucock, from Middle English po “peacock” + coc (see cock (n.)). Po is from Old English pawa “peafowl” (cock or hen), from Latin pavo (genitive pavonis), which, with Greek taos said to be ultimately from Tamil tokei (but perhaps is imitative; Latin represented the peacock’s sound as paupulo). The Latin word also is the source of Old High German pfawo, German Pfau, Dutch pauw, Old Church Slavonic pavu. Used as the type of a vainglorious person from late 14c. Its flesh superstitiously was believed to be incorruptible (even St. Augustine credits this). “When he sees his feet, he screams wildly, thinking that they are not in keeping with the rest of his body.” [Epiphanus] see proud as a peacock.

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