1. Chiefly British Informal. somewhat hungry: By noon we were feeling a bit peckish.
2. Chiefly British Informal. rather irritable: He’s always a bit peckish after his nap.
“I say, uncle, is this all the grub great swells have? I’m awfully peckish !” “That’s early tea, my boy,” was the answer, with a smile.
— Charlotte Mary Yonge , That Stick , 1892
“…It has made me feel a bit peckish , a pull like that on an empty stomach; it must be close on twelve o’clock. What do you say, are you beginning to feel that it is lunch time?”
— George Moore , Spring Days , 1888
Though the origins of peckish are unknown, this term may share its roots with the term pick . This term came to English in the early 1700s.