Linda Koch: Does anyone know the origin of the word "peckerwood"? I believe it was used by the pre civil war southern slaves.
Hal: Also just "Wood." It means Caucasion or American white person, especially in the South. It is old Southern and it used to be usually derogatory (from the common name for the red-headed woodpecker which has red neck.
(From Forbidden American English by Richard A. Spears).
A poor southern ASP (Anglo Saxon Protestant). The woodpecker symbolizing whites in the South.
(From The Word Lovers Dictionary by Josefa Heifetz).
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