Skip to main content
Select Source:

peacock

peacock a male peafowl, which has brilliant blue and green plumage and very long tail feathers that have eye-like markings and can be erected and expanded in display like a fan; in Greek mythology, the ‘eyes’ were those of the hundred-eyed Argus, placed there by Hera after Hermes killed him. The bird is proverbially taken as the type of an ostentatious, proud, or vain person; it may also be taken as a bird of ill-omen.

In the fable of the borrowed plumes, a jay or jackdaw is said to have decked itself in peacock's feathers in an unsuccessful attempt to impress.

In Hindu tradition, a peacock may be shown as the mount of the war-god Skanda.

Mrs Peacock is the name of one of the six stock characters constituting the murderer and suspects in the game of Cluedo.
Peacock Alley the main corridor of the original Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York, so called because fashionable people paraded there.
peacock in his pride in heraldry, a peacock represented as facing the spectator with the tail expanded and the wings drooping.
Peacock Throne the former throne of the Kings of Delhi, later that of the Shahs of Iran, adorned with precious stones forming an expanded peacock's tail. The throne was taken to Persia by Nadir Shah (1688–1747), king of Persia, who in 1739 captured Delhi and with it the Peacock Throne and the Koh-i-noor diamond.
peacock's feather a long tail feather of the peacock, used figuratively as a symbol of ostentation or vainglory. It was traditionally believed that to bring a peacock's feather into the house would invite ill-luck.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"peacock." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"peacock." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/peacock

"peacock." The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. . Retrieved December 10, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/peacock

peacock

peacock or peafowl, large bird of the genus Pavo, in the pheasant family, native to E Asia. There are two main species, the common (Pavo cristatus), and the Javanese (P. musticus) peacocks, both found in deep forest where they travel in small flocks. A third type, the Congo peacock, was discovered recently in Africa. Unusual peacocks are the Argus pheasant, with eyelike spots on its secondary flight feathers, and the white peacock, thought to be a mutation of the common peafowl. When the term peafowl is used, peacock then refers to the male of a species and peahen to the female. During courtship the crested male common peacock displays his elongated upper tail coverts—a magnificent green and gold erectile train adorned with blue-green "eyes" —before the duller-plumaged peahen. The peacock is well known as an ornamental bird, though it is quarrelsome and does not mix well with other domestic animals. The peacock figures in the Bible and in Greek and Roman myth, where it appears as the favorite bird of the goddess Hera, or Juno, and the bird was known to the pharaohs of Egypt and to 14th-century Europe, where it was roasted and served in its own plumage. Peafowl fly well despite their size, and roost in trees at night. Peacocks are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Galliformes, family Phasianidae.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"peacock." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"peacock." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/peacock

"peacock." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved December 10, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/peacock

peacock

peacock (peafowl) Any of several species of birds of Asia and Africa. The male is called a peacock and the female a peahen, but peacock has become the common name for both sexes. The male has a 150cm (60in) tail, which it can spread vertically as a semi-circular fan with a pattern of eye-like shapes. The body of the male may be metallic blue, green or bronze, depending on the species. Hens are almost as big as the males; they lack the tail and head ornaments, and are brown, red or green. In the wild, peafowl inhabit open, lowland forests, and roost in trees. Length of body: 75cm (30in). Family Phasianidae; genera Pavo and Afropavo.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"peacock." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"peacock." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/peacock

"peacock." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved December 10, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/peacock

peacock

pea·cock / ˈpēˌkäk/ • n. a male peafowl, which has very long tail feathers that have eyelike markings and that can be erected and expanded in display like a fan. ∎  an ostentatious strutting person: these young men have always considered themselves the peacocks of Europe. • v. [intr.] display oneself ostentatiously; strut like a peacock: he peacocks in front of the full-length mirror.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"peacock." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"peacock." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/peacock-1

"peacock." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved December 10, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/peacock-1

peacock

peacock XIV. ME. pecok, f. OE. pēa (— L. pāvō) + COCK1.
So peahen XIV.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"peacock." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"peacock." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/peacock-2

"peacock." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved December 10, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/peacock-2

peacock

peacockad hoc, amok, Bangkok, baroque, belle époque, bloc, block, bock, brock, chock, chock-a-block, clock, cock, crock, doc, dock, floc, flock, frock, hock, hough, interlock, jock, knock, langue d'oc, lock, Locke, Médoc, mock, nock, o'clock, pock, post hoc, roc, rock, schlock, shock, smock, sock, Spock, stock, wok, yapok •manioc • Antioch • sjambok •gemsbok • rhebok • steenbok •springbok • grysbok • Lombok •Zadok • Languedoc •burdock, Murdoch •hollyhock • forehock • spatchcock •blackcock • Hancock • petcock •haycock • gamecock •Leacock, peacock, seacock •Hickok • Hitchcock • poppycock •stopcock • gorcock •Alcock, ballcock •monocoque • woodcock • shuttlecock •moorcock • weathercock

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"peacock." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 10 Dec. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"peacock." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. (December 10, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/peacock-0

"peacock." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved December 10, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/peacock-0