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See also: Peacock


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A peacock.


From Middle English pea(peacock) + coc (see cock (n.)). Pea, still used in Early Modern English but later combined with cock to deter confusion with the homonymous vegetable, is from Old English pēa(peafowl), a by-form of Old English pāwa(peafowl) (whence Middle English po and pocock(peacock)), from Latin pavo (gen. pavonis), which, with Ancient Greek ταώς(taṓs), said to be ultimately from Tamil தோகை(tōkai) (but perhaps is imitative; Latin represented the peacock's sound as paupulo). Used as the type of a vainglorious person from late 14c. Its flesh was superstitiously 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."



peacock (plural peacocks)

  1. A male peafowl with brilliant blue or green iridescent tails.
  2. A peafowl, either male or female.
  3. A vainglorious person
  4. A male or female pheasant of the two genera: Pavo or Afropavo, whose males have extravagant tails.



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