PECK, a dry measure of capacity, especially used for grain. It contains 8 quarts or 2 gallons, and is J 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 pecctim 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."
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)