- to select for use or special consideration, illustration, etc, as from a group
- to distinguish (an object from its surroundings), as in painting: she picked out the woodwork in white
- to perceive or recognize (a person or thing previously obscured): we picked out his face among the crowd
- to distinguish (sense or meaning) from or as if from a mass of detail or complication
- to play (a tune) tentatively, by or as if by ear
WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2016
- to choose or select, esp. with care:She picked the best detective on the force to head the investigation.
- to seek occasion for; provoke:to pick a fight.
- to attempt to find;
seek out:trying to pick flaws in his argument.
- to steal the contents of:to pick a pocket.
- to open (a lock) with a device other than a key, esp. for the purpose of burglary:The spy managed to pick the lock and get into her house.
- to pierce or break up (something) with a pointed instrument:to pick iron ore.
- to use a pointed instrument on (a thing), to remove particles or something stuck:After dinner he grabbed a toothpick and began to pick his teeth.
- to prepare for use by removing a covering, as feathers:to pick a fowl.
- to detach or remove piece by piece with the fingers:to pick meat from the bones.
- to pull out and gather one by one:to pick flowers.
- to pluck (the strings of a musical instrument):She picked the strings softly at first.
- to play (a stringed instrument) by plucking with the fingers:strumming and picking his guitar.
- to find fault with; nag:He kept picking at her until she exploded.
- to eat only a small amount:For days she only picked at her meals.
- to grasp at; touch;
handle:a nervous habit of picking at his jacket sleeve.
- to remove by pulling or plucking off: [~ + off + object]She picked off the feathers from the chicken.[~ + object + off]She picked the feathers off the chicken.
- to single out and shoot: [~ + off + object]picked off a duck rising from the marsh.[~ + object + off]With this rifle an assassin could pick you off at a thousand yards.
- [Baseball.]to put out (a base runner) in a pick-off play: [~ + off + object]picked off three players in one game.[~ + object + off]picked me off twice in one game.
- to tease; bother greatly;
harass:The other kids picked on her because she was poor.
- to single out;
choose:The teacher tended to pick on her often because she came to class prepared.
- to choose; select: [~ + out + object]Pick out the best tomatoes.[~ + object + out]She picked the best tomatoes out and left the rest.
- to distinguish (something) from that which surrounds: [~ + out + object]to pick out her face in a crowd.[~ + object + out]Can you pick that criminal's face out from among these photos?
- to work out (a melody) note by note; play by ear: [~ + out + object]idly picking out a tune.[~ + object + out]She picked a tune out on the piano.
- to lift or take up: [~ + up + object]to pick up a stone.[~ + object + up]He picked the stone up.
- to gather or collect, esp. systematically: [~ + up + object]Please pick up the pieces.[~ + object + up]Pick the pieces up.
- [~ + up + object] to gain or acquire:picked up nine yards on the play.
- to obtain or learn casually or as a result of occasional opportunity: [~ + up + object]I've picked up a few Japanese phrases.[~ + object + up]I was able to pick English up fairly quickly.
- to take on (casually) as a passenger: [~ + up + object]They picked up some guy hitchhiking on Interstate 40.[~ + object + up]They picked some guy up on Interstate 40.
- to arrange to collect (something), or to meet and collect (someone) as a passenger, etc.: [~ + up + object]Please pick up some milk on the way home.[~ + object + up]We'll pick you up at eight o'clock.
- to bring into the range of one's ability to receive (as on a radio), or observe, detect, etc.: [~ + up + object]to pick up Toronto on the radio.[~ + object + up]Their sonar could pick the Russian sub up.
- [~ + up + object] to accelerate; gain (speed):The car picked up speed.
- [~ + up + object] to catch or contract, as a disease:picked up a cold.
- to (cause to) make progress, improve, or recover: [no object]Business is picking up.[~ + object + up]This should pick you up: good news at last about the economy![~ + up + object]The news of the invasion picked up the morale of the prisoners.
- to become acquainted with informally or casually, often in hope of a sexual relationship: [~ + up + object]They were cruising at the bars, hoping to pick up some men.[~ + object + up]Let's try to pick those girls up.
- to resume or continue after being left off: [~ + up + object]Let's pick up the discussion at our next meeting.[~ + object + up]Can we pick this up at our next meeting?
- to take to jail; arrest: [~ + up + object]The police picked up the suspect the next day.[~ + object + up]The police picked the suspect up the day after the murder.
- [~ + up + object] to accept, as in order to pay:As we rose to leave, he picked up the check, saying, "I'll pay this time.''
- the act of selecting;
choice[uncountable]Take your pick.
- a person or thing selected[countable]Two of the team's first draft picks would not sign with them.
- the best, choicest, or most desirable part or example[uncountable]This horse is the pick of the stable.
- Idiomspick and choose, [no object] to be careful or particular in choosing:You won't have time to pick and choose; just grab what looks good.
pick•er, n. [countable]
pick2 /pɪk/USA pronunciation n. [countable]
- Buildinga heavy tool made of a metal head, usually curved, coming to a point at one or both ends, mounted on a wooden handle, and used for breaking up soil, rock, etc.
- Buildingany pointed tool or instrument for picking:an ice pick.
- Music and Danceplectrum.
- to choose or select from among a group:to pick a contestant from the audience.
- to seek and find occasion for; provoke:to pick a fight.
- to attempt to find;
seek out:to pick flaws in an argument.
- to steal the contents of:Her pocket was picked yesterday.
- to open (a lock) with a device other than the key, as a sharp instrument or wire, esp. for the purpose of burglary.
- to pierce, indent, dig into, or break up (something) with a pointed instrument:to pick rock; to pick ore.
- to form (a hole) by such action:to pick a hole in asphalt.
- to use a pointed instrument, the fingers, the teeth, the beak, etc., on (a thing), in order to remove or loosen something, as a small part or adhering matter:to pick one's teeth.
- to prepare for use by removing a covering piece by piece, as feathers, hulls, or other parts:to pick a fowl.
- to detach or remove piece by piece with the fingers:She picked the meat from the bones.
- to pluck or gather one by one:to pick flowers.
- Animal Behavior(of birds or other animals) to take up (small bits of food) with the bill or teeth.
- to eat daintily or in small morsels.
- to separate, pull apart, or pull to pieces:to pick fibers.
- to pluck (the strings of an instrument).
- to play (a stringed instrument) by plucking with the fingers.
- to strike with or use a pick or other pointed instrument on something.
- Animal Behavior(of birds or other animals) to take up small bits of food with the bill or teeth:The hens were busily picking about in their coop.
- to select carefully or fastidiously.
- to pilfer; steal.
- to pluck or gather fruit, flowers, etc.
- Sport[Basketball.]to execute a pick.
- Idiomspick and choose, to be very careful or particular in choosing:With such a limited supply of fresh fruit, you won't be able to pick and choose.
- Idiomspick apart, to criticize severely or in great detail:They picked her apart the moment she left the room.
- to find fault with unnecessarily or persistently; nag.
- to eat sparingly or daintily:As he was ill, he only picked at his food.
- to grasp at;
handle:The baby loved to pick at her mother's glasses.
- to remove by pulling or plucking off.
- to single out and shoot:The hunter picked off a duck rising from the marsh.
- [Baseball.]to put out (a base runner) in a pick-off play.
- [Informal.]to criticize or blame; tease;
- to single out;
choose:The professor always picks on me to translate long passages.
- to choose; designate:to pick out one's successor.
- to distinguish from that which surrounds or accompanies;
recognize:to pick out a well-known face in a crowd.
- to discern (sense or meaning); discriminate.
- to play (a melody) by ear;
work out note by note.
- to extract by picking.
- to lift or take up:to pick up a stone.
- to collect, esp. in an orderly manner:Pick up the tools when you're finished.
- to recover (one's courage, health, etc.); regain.
- to gain by occasional opportunity;
obtain casually:to pick up a livelihood.
- to learn, as by experience:I've picked up a few Japanese phrases.
- to claim:to pick up one's bags at an airport.
- to take (a person or thing) into a car or ship, etc., or along with one.
- to bring into range of reception, observation, etc.:to pick up Rome on one's radio.
- to accelerate; gain (speed).
- to put in good order;
tidy:to pick up a room.
- to make progress;
improve:Business is beginning to pick up.
- to catch or contract, as a disease.
- [Informal.]to become acquainted with informally or casually, often in hope of a sexual relationship:Let's pick up some dates tonight.
- to resume or continue after being left off:Let's pick up the discussion in our next meeting.
- [Informal.]to take into custody; arrest:They picked him up for vagrancy.
- [Informal.]to obtain;
purchase:She picked up some nice shoes on sale.
- [Slang.]to steal:to pick up jewels and silver.
- to accept, as in order to pay:to pick up the check.
- become aware or cognizant of; be perceptive about;
notice:to pick up on the hostess's hostility.
- to pay special attention to;
keep an eye on:to pick up on a troubled student.
- the act of choosing or selecting; choice;
selection:to take one's pick.
- a person or thing that is selected:He is our pick for president.
- the choicest or most desirable part, example, or examples:This horse is the pick of the stable.
- the right of selection:He gave me my pick of the litter.
- Agriculturethe quantity of a crop picked, as from trees, bushes, etc., at a particular time:The pick was poor this season.
- a speck of dirt, hardened ink, or extra metal on set type or a plate.
- a small area removed from the surface of a coated paper by ink that adheres to the form.
verb, verbal Middle English pyken, pikken, pekken, cognate with Dutch pikken, German picken, Old Norse pikka to pick;
akin to peck2, pike5;
(noun, nominal) derivative of the verb, verbal
1 . See choose. 4 . rob, pilfer. 12 . reap, collect.
- Buildinga heavy tool consisting of an iron or steel head, usually curved, tapering to a point at one or both ends, mounted on a wooden handle, and used for loosening and breaking up soil, rock, etc.;
- Buildinga hammerlike tool for the rough dressing of stone, having two sharp, pyramidal faces.
- Buildingany pointed or other tool or instrument for picking (often used in combination):a toothpick; an ice pick.
- Music and Dance[Music.]plectrum.
- Slang Terms[Slang.]a large pocket comb having long, widely spaced teeth.
Middle English pikk(e);
perh. variant of pike5
- Textilesto cast (a shuttle).
- Textiles(in a loom) one passage of the shuttle.
- Textilesfilling (def. 5).