WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
pick1 /pɪk/USA pronunciation v. [+ object]
  1. to choose or select, esp. with care:She picked the best detective on the force to head the investigation.
  2. to seek occasion for; provoke:to pick a fight.
  3. to attempt to find;
    seek out:trying to pick flaws in his argument.
  4. to steal the contents of:to pick a pocket.
  5. 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.
  6. to pierce or break up (something) with a pointed instrument:to pick iron ore.
  7. 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.
  8. to prepare for use by removing a covering, as feathers:to pick a fowl.
  9. to detach or remove piece by piece with the fingers:to pick meat from the bones.
  10. 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.
  11. pick apart, to criticize severely or in great detail: [+ apart + object]picked apart his arguments one by one.[+ object + apart]picked most of his arguments apart.
  12. pick at, [+ at + object]
    • 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.
    pick off: 
    • 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.
    pick on, [+ on + object]
    • 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.
    pick out: 
    • 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.
    pick up: 
    • 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.''
  13. pick up on, [+ up on + object][Informal.]to become aware of; notice:I picked up on his hostility right away.

  • [uncountable] the act of selecting;
    choice:Take your pick.
  • [countable] a person or thing selected:Two of the team's first draft picks would not sign with them.
  • [uncountable] the best, choicest, or most desirable part or example:This horse is the pick of the stable.
  • idiom
    1. 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]
    1. 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.
    2. Buildingany pointed tool or instrument for picking:an ice pick.
    3. Music and Danceplectrum.plectrum.

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    pick out vb (tr, adverb)
    1. to select for use or special consideration, illustration, etc, as from a group
    2. to distinguish (an object from its surroundings), as in painting: she picked out the woodwork in white
    3. to perceive or recognize (a person or thing previously obscured): we picked out his face among the crowd
    4. to distinguish (sense or meaning) from or as if from a mass of detail or complication
    5. to play (a tune) tentatively, by or as if by ear

    'pick out' also found in these entries:

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