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The term hunt-and-peck seems to have been coined during World War I. We will examine the meaning of the term hunt-and-peck, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Hunt-and-peck describes a method of typing that involves looking at the keyboard for the letter one wants to use, and using one or two fingers from each hand to strike the keys. As one may surmise, hunt-and-peck is a very inefficient way to type. Competent typists use the touch typing method, in which one uses repetition to learn the positions of the letters on the keyboard in order to access the correct keys without looking at the keyboard. Typewriters and computer keyboards are arranged in the QWERTY system, which was devised at the time of the first typewriters. At that time, letters were arranged according to the frequency of their use in the English language in order to keep the keys from tangling as they struck the paper. The hunt-and-peck method of typing may have been more common in the past, when large segments of the population did not have training in how to use a typewriter. However, with the advent of the desktop and laptop computer, most students are taught how to use a keyboard, not just those who are going to work as secretaries or writers. Hunt-and-peck is an adjective and is properly rendered with hyphens, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Mostly used to describe a method of typing, hunt-and-peck is occasionally used as a metaphor in other situations.


Whether you’re a typist with perfect form — thanks to Miss Jarvis in sixth grade and the thousands of times she emphasized the home position — or you’re a hunt-and-peck typist, having a great keyboard can at least make the job more enjoyable and more comfortable. (The Business Insider)

“I used to type all the tax bills,” she said, and admitted with humor that her typewriter work at the time was hunt-and-peck style. (The Martha Vinyard Times)

It has been pretty much hunt-and-peck for the guides working the ICW this week. (The St. Augustine Record)