- Pickle is defined as a vegetable, usually a cucumber, that has been soaked in a mixture with vinegar.
An example of a pickle is the sour slice of cucumber on a sandwich.
- The definition of a pickle is an awkward or difficult situation.
An example of a pickle is needing to help two friends, but only having time to help one.
- To pickle is to preserve a food in a salty or vinegar-based liquid.
An example of pickle is to put cucumbers into a jar with a vinegar and spice liquid.
A pickle.Licensed from iStockPhoto
- any brine, vinegar, or spicy solution used to preserve or marinate food
- a vegetable, specif. a cucumber, preserved in such a solution
- a chemical bath used to clear metal of scale, preserve wood, etc.
- Informal an awkward or difficult situation; plight
Origin: Middle English pikil from Middle Dutch pekel from uncertain or unknown; perhaps picken, to prick, inch(es) sense “that which pricks, or is piquant”
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
- An edible product, such as a cucumber, that has been preserved and flavored in a solution of brine or vinegar.
- A solution of brine or vinegar, often spiced, for preserving and flavoring food.
- A chemical solution, such as an acid, that is used as a bath to remove scale and oxides from the surface of metals before plating or finishing.
- Informal A disagreeable or troublesome situation; a plight. See Synonyms at predicament.
- Baseball A rundown.
- To preserve or flavor (food) in a solution of brine or vinegar.
- To treat (metal) in a chemical bath.
Origin: Middle English pikle, highly seasoned sauce, probably from Middle Dutch pekel, pickle, brine.Word History: Trade with the Low Countries across the North Sea was important to England in the later Middle Ages, and it is perhaps because of this trade that we have the word pickle. Middle English pikel, the ancestor of our word, is first recorded around 1400 with the meaning “a spicy sauce or gravy served with meat or fowl.” This is a different sense from the one the word brings to mind now, but it is somewhat related in sense to its possible Middle Dutch source pekel, a solution, such as spiced brine, for preserving and flavoring food. After coming into English the word pickle expanded its sense range in several ways. It was applied, as it had been in Middle Dutch, to a pickling solution. Later pickle was used to refer to something so treated, such as a cucumber. The word also took on a figurative sense, “a troublesome situation,” perhaps under the influence of a similar Dutch usage in the phrase in de pekel zitten, “sit in the pickle,” and iemand in de pekel laten zitten, “let someone sit in the pickle.”