a. A small cylindrical or tapered pin, as of wood, used to fasten things or plug a hole.
b. A similar pin forming a projection that may be used as a support or boundary marker.
2. Music One of the pins of a stringed instrument that are turned to tighten or slacken the strings so as to regulate their pitch.
3. A degree or notch, as in estimation: Our opinion of him went up a few pegs after he did the dishes.
4. Chiefly British A drink of liquor.
5. Baseball A low and fast throw made to put a base runner out.
6. Informal A leg, especially a wooden one.
v. pegged, peg·ging, pegs
1. To fasten or plug with a peg or pegs.
2. To designate or mark by means of a peg or pegs.
3. To fix (a price) at a certain level or within a certain range.
4. Informal To classify; categorize: I pegged her as an opportunist. Why do you have me pegged as the rowdy one?
a. To hit, especially with a thrown object or fired projectile: She pegged him on the head with a snowball.
b. To throw or fire (an object or projectile): “How did you learn to peg a ball as straight as this?” (Zane Grey).
To work steadily; persist: pegged away until our luck turned.
Wide at the top and narrowing toward the bottom: peg jeans; a peg skirt.
take (someone) down a peg
To reduce the pride of; humble.
[Middle English pegge, from Middle Dutch.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.