pecking order


pecking order
pecking order
n.
[calque of Ger hackordnung]
1. a hierarchy among birds, as a flock of hens, based on aggressive pecking in which the most dominant bird pecks all others, the second most dominant bird pecks all others except the most dominant, etc.
2. social organization in which status is determined by aggressive awareness of rank, income, etc.: Also peck order

English World dictionary. . 2014.