Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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.
peckerwood (plural peckerwoods)
- (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.
- (Southern US) A peckerwood sawmill.
1933 January 7, Traffic Service Corporation, “Serving an essential Industry: Lumber”, in The Traffic World, 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.
- (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.
- (prison slang) A white (male) inmate, especially one who is racist or who is a member of a race-based prison gang.
- For more examples of usage of this term, see Citations:peckerwood.
woodpecker — see woodpecker
peckerwood sawmill — see peckerwood sawmill
white, especially ignorant or rustic — see redneck