peckerwood

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Inversion of woodpecker. Application to white people is due to the perception that the woodpecker is a symbol of whites, whereas the crow is a symbol of blacks.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

peckerwood ‎(plural peckerwoods)

  1. (Southern US, slang) A woodpecker.
    • 1900 January 15, Drowne, T. P., “A Trip to Fauquier Co., Virginia; With Notes on the Specimens Obtained.”, in Webb, Walter F., editor, The Museum: A Monthly Magazine Devoted to Research in Natural Science, volume 6, number 3, Albion, page 38:
      On the morning of the next, one of Mr. White's daughters came into the house to inform me that there was a "peckerwood" in a tree in the yard. I immediately took my gun and went out to investigate thinking that perhaps it was a Pileolated Woodpecker, a bird I wanted to obtain.
    • 1953, Stuart, Jesse, The Good Spirit of Laurel Ridge[1], New York: McGraw-Hill, LCCN 53010630, OL 6136729M:
      When I was a boy, I rooted over an old dead sourwood to get some peckerwood eggs.
    • 1992, Morgan, Robert, The Mountains Won't Remember Us: And Other Stories, New York: Scribner, published 2000, ISBN 9780743204217, OL 6783044M, page 40:
      There was nothing but a peckerwood on an oak tree.
  2. (Southern US) A peckerwood sawmill.
    • 1933 January 7, Traffic Service Corporation, “Serving an essential Industry: Lumber”, in The Traffic World[2], volume 51, number 1, page 8:
      Throughout this territory are mills of every variety and size, from the small "peckerwood" tractor mill capable of cutting only a few thousand feet of lumber per day to the world's largest pine lumber mill with a capacity of more than one million feet per day.
    • 2002, Lancaster, John E., Judge Harley and His Boys: The Langdale Story, First edition, Macon: Mercer University Press, ISBN 9780865548237, OL 8317650M, page 222:
      The Langdale Company's new centralized sawmill and debarker in 1958 constituted a tremendous advance over the old peckerwood technology.
  3. (US, offensive, slang) A white person, especially a Southerner, or one who is ignorant, rustic, or bigoted.
    • 1946, Mezzrow, Mezz; Wolfe, Bernard, Really the Blues, New York: Kensington, published 2001, ISBN 9780806512051, OL 7941497M, page 16:
      All the time I was stretched out on the infirmary cot I kept looking at the blank walls and seeing the mean, murdering faces of those Southern peckerwoods when they went after Big Six and the others with their knives.
    • 1967, Killens, John Oliver, 'Sippi[3], New York: Trident Press, LCCN 67016400, OL 5539087M, page 50:
      Just as prejudiced as a Mississippi peckerwood when it comes to colored people.
  4. (prison slang) A white (male) inmate, especially one who is racist or who is a member of a race-based prison gang.

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