1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Peck

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PECK, a dry measure of capacity, especially used for grain. It contains 8 quarts or 2 gallons, and is ¼ of a bushel. The imperial peck contains 554.548 cub. in., in the United States of America 537.6 cub. in. The word is in M.E. pek, and is found latinized as peccum or pekka. In Med. Lat. are found picotinus, “ mensura frumentaria,” and picotus, “mensura liquidorum” (Du Cange, Gloss. s.vv.) These words seem to be connected with the Fr. picoter, to peck, of a bird, and this would identify the word with “peck,” a variant of “pick,” a tap or stroke of the beak, especially used of the action of a bird in picking up grain or other food. The sense-development in this case is very obscure, and the name of the measure is found much earlier than “peck” as a variant form of “pick.”