Green’s Dictionary of Slang

peck n.1

[SE peck, to eat (of a bird); the concepts of food and business are closely allied here]

1. (orig. UK Und.; later use US black/gang, also pecks) food, often meat.

[UK]Harman Caveat for Common Cursetours in Viles & Furnivall (1907) 86: Maunde of this morte what bene pecke is in her ken.
[UK]Groundworke of Conny-catching A2: Pek, meate.
[UK]Dekker Lanthorne and Candle-Light Ch. 1: Peck, meate.
[UK]Middleton & Dekker Roaring Girle V i: A gage of ben rom-bouse [...] Is benar then a caster, / Peck, pennam, lap, or popler.
[UK]Dekker Canters Dict. Eng. Villainies (8th edn) .
[UK]R. Brome Jovial Crew II i: For all this bene Cribbing and Peck let us then, / Bowse a health to the Gentry Cofe of the Ken.
[UK]Head Canting Academy (2nd edn) 4: As for Peck, that they can procure without Money.
[UK]R. Holme Academy of Armory Ch. iii item 68c: Canting Terms used by Beggars, Vagabonds, Cheaters, Cripples and Bedlams. [...] Peck, Meat.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Codsounds, the Pith or Marrow in the Cod’s Back, esteem’d as choice Peck.
[UK]N. Ward Rambling Rakes 6: We quitted the Market [...] and hasted to the Infallible Shop [...] Noted now for Nice-Peck.
‘John Sheppard’s Last Epistle’ in Dly Jrnl (London) 16 Nov. 1: Pray send me some Peck and some Bub, / A Slat or a Board to the Needy.
[UK]New Canting Dict. n.p.: peck, or peckage Meat.
Mrs. Delany letter 30 Mar. Life and Corr. (1861) I 346: We went to supper, and had a profusion of peck and booze.
[UK]Canting Academy, or the Pedlar’s-French Dict. 111: Victuals not fit to eat, Quer peck.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue.
[UK] ‘Flash Lang.’ in Confessions of Thomas Mount 19: Victuals of any kind, [...] peck.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum.
[UK]Times 29 Oct. 2/4: We must have a word of the poetry, just to put the lush and peck gentlemen out of countenance.
[UK]‘A Rum-Un to Look At’ in Libertine’s Songster in Spedding & Watt (eds) I 135: Oh I have got a moll, / And I calls her leary Poll, / She shares both my peck and my bed.
[UK]Flash Mirror 4: The Bug Walk [...] This house is a pannum supply [...] if any gemman of an high order thinks fit to put his beak in, he can get a feeder of slap up peck for a kick.
[US]Broadway Belle (NY) 1 Jan. n.p.: We are in habit of taking our daily ‘peck’ at Weeks’ Excelsior Saloon, 83 Nassai st.
[UK]Leaves from Diary of Celebrated Burglar 107/1: What sot of ‘peck’ du they give you? Is it good?
[UK]J. Greenwood Low-Life Deeps 309: We had had our peck.
[US]St Louis Globe-Democrat 19 Jan. n.p.: His ‘gripsack,’ which he had to ‘shove up at his uncle’s for peck’.
[UK] ‘’Arry on [...] the Glorious Twelfth’ in Punch 30 Aug. 97/2: Them Moors is the spots for cold Irish, and gives you the primest of pecks.
[US]A.G. Field Watch Yourself Go By 415: Not until someone asked him how it was he had been without food for a week did he learn that ‘peck’ in show-slang signified meals—eating.
[US]R. Finestone in Cressey & Ward Delinquency, Crime, and Social Process (1969) 790: Thus he used [...] ‘pecks’ for food.
[US]Hughes & Bontemps Book of Negro Folklore 486: pecks: Food. My girl lays some pecks!
[US]H. Salisbury Shook-Up Generation (1961) 151: Food is ‘pecks’.
[US]A. Young Snakes (1971) 129: ‘They keep food here too?’ ‘Oughta be some type of pecks.’.
[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].

2. an appetite.

[UK] ‘’Arry in ’Arrygate’ in Punch 24 Sept. 133/3: Still, the air ’ere’s as fresh as they make it, and gives yer a doose of a peck.

3. a business, a concern.

[UK]T.W.H. Crosland ‘The White Man’s Burden’ in Five Notions 32: Take up the White Man’s burden, / Behold his daughter fair, / Her healthy English features, / Her pretty English hair; / Your sons she may not marry, / She is too proud a peck.

In derivatives

peckage (n.) (also peckadge, peckeridge, peckidge)

(UK Und.) food, esp. scraps.

[UK]Rowlands Martin Mark-all 39: Pecke meate, pecke is not meate but peckage.
[UK]Jonson Gypsies Metamorphosed 4: ’Tis thought fit he marche in the Infants Equipage With the convoy cheates, and peckage out of the clutch of Harman-beckage, to theire Libkens at the Crackmans or some skipper of the Black-mans.
[UK]J. Taylor Crabtree Lectures 195: Cove. I will venture a training, [sic] or a noosing, ’ere I will want Lower, peckage, beane bowse, or duds for my Morts, & my Kinchins.
[UK]Dekker Eng. Villainies (9th edn) n.p.: Peckidge, meat.
[UK]Head Eng. Rogue I 51: Peckidge, Meat.
[UK]Head Canting Academy (2nd edn) 177: Peckidg Any sort of Meat.
[UK]B.E. Dict. Canting Crew n.p.: Peckidge, c. Meat.
[UK]J. Shirley Triumph of Wit.
[UK]A. Smith Lives of Most Notorious Highway-men, etc. (1926) II [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]New Canting Dict. [as cit. c.1698].
[UK]Scoundrel’s Dict. 15: Meat or Provision – Peck or Peckeridge.
[UK]Grose Classical Dict. of the Vulgar Tongue n.p.: As for peckage, or eatables, they can procure it without money; for while some are sent to break the ruffmans, or woods and bushes, for firing, others are detached to filch geese, chickens, hens, ducks (or mallards), and pigs.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict.

In compounds

peck and booze (n.) (also peck and tipple) [booze n. (1)/tipple n. (1)]

meat and drink.

[UK]Fifteen Comforts of Cuckoldom 6: Besides good Peck and Booze, so till she’s Dead, / She may and will Whore on to get me Bread.
[UK]N. Ward Wooden World 47: A Cargo of fresh Peck and Tipple.
[Ire]Mrs. Delany in Life and Corr. I 346: We went to supper, and had a profusion of peck and booze [OED].
H. Lemoine ‘The Clever Fellow’ in Wit’s Mag. 155/1: Thro’ London streets my wares I cry, / Up peck and booze to pick.
[UK]Sporting Mag. June VI 172/2: I pick up such peck and boozing there [i.e. at a fair].
[UK]G. Andrewes Dict. Sl. and Cant.
[UK]Lex. Balatronicum [as cit. 1785].
[UK] ‘The Beak and Trap to Roost are Gone’ in Swell!!! or, Slap-Up Chaunter 49: Nor peck nor booze too have we got, / Nor ken nor dab have we.
[UK]Flash Dict. in Sinks of London Laid Open.
[UK]Bell’s New Wkly Messenger 22 Dec. n.p.: The City Aldermen have been out to Peck and Booze.
[UK]Hotten Dict. of Modern Sl. etc. 73: ‘peck and booze,’ meat and drink.
[UK]Hotten Sl. Dict. [as cit. 1859].
[UK]Yorks. Post 1 Feb. 10/6: John Bull’s my name [...] To earn my bread I knock it; Good peck and booze I ne’er refuse.
peck and perch (n.)

board and lodging.

G. Horne Olla Podrida 10 Nov. in British Prose Writers 18 80: Happily I was at hand to explain to the company [...] that the words peck and perch [...] meant nothing more than board and lodging.
[UK]New Mthly Mag. XIII 317: What’s peck and perch, and a pound a-week? Why, I got as much twenty years ago when I was in the wet line.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 28 June 3/1: He was fortunate enough to get a ticket for gratuitous ‘peck and perch’ at Darlinghurst.
[UK]Baily’s Mag. May 351: Right glad was I — instead of returning to Dublin — to find peck and perch at a charming house in the immediate neighbourhood.

In phrases

off one’s peck

having no appetite.

Shaw Mrs Warren’s Profession Act II vivie: Frank: are you hungry? frank: Not the least in the world. Completely off my peck, in fact.
[UK]Albert Chevalier in Before I Forget (1901) 231: King Charles was off ’is peck but ’adn’t ’e got a thirst on ’im! Lor! couldn’t he shift the corfee!