verbpicked, pick·ing, picks
- To select from a group: The best swimmer was picked.
a. To gather in; harvest: They were picking cotton.
b. To gather the harvest from: picked the field in one day.
a. To remove the outer covering of; pluck: pick a chicken clean of feathers.
b. To tear off bit by bit: pick meat from the bones.
- To remove extraneous matter from (the teeth, for example).
- To poke and pull at (something) with the fingers.
- To break up, separate, or detach by means of a sharp pointed instrument.
- To pierce or make (a hole) with a sharp pointed instrument.
- To take up (food) with the beak; peck: The parrot picked its seed.
- To steal the contents of: My pocket was picked.
- To open (a lock) without the use of a key.
- To provoke: pick a fight.
a. To pluck (an instrument's strings).
b. To play (an instrument) by plucking its strings.
c. To play (a tune) in this manner: picked a melody out on the guitar.
- To decide with care or forethought.
- To work with a pick.
- To find fault or make petty criticisms; carp: He's always picking about something.
- To be harvested or gathered: The ripe apples picked easily.
Phrasal Verbs: pick apart
- The act of picking, especially with a sharp pointed instrument.
- The act of selecting or choosing; choice: got first pick of the desserts.
- Something selected as the most desirable; the best or choicest part: the pick of the crop.
- The amount or quantity of a crop that is picked by hand.
- Sports An interception of a pass.
- Basketball A screen.
To refute or find flaws in by close examination: The lawyer picked the testimony apart. pick at
To pluck or pull at, especially with the fingers.To eat sparingly or without appetite: The child just picked at the food. Informal
To nag: Don't pick at me. pick off
To shoot after singling out: The hunter picked the ducks off one by one. Baseball
To put out (a base runner standing off base) by making a quick throw to a fielder. Used especially of a pitcher or catcher. Sports
To intercept (a pass), as in football. pick on
To tease or bully. pick out
To choose or select: picked out a nice watch.
To discern from the surroundings; distinguish: picked out their cousins from the crowd. pick over
To sort out or examine item by item: picked over the grapes before buying them. pick up
To take up (something) with a hand or other body part or with an instrument: Could you pick up that book? The dog picked up the bone in its mouth.
To collect or gather: picked up some pebbles.
To tidy up; clean: picked up the bedroom.
To take on (passengers or freight, for example): The bus picks up commuters at five stops. Informal
a. To acquire casually or by accident: picked up a new coat on sale.
b. To acquire (knowledge) by learning or experience: picked up French quickly.
c. To claim: picked up her car at the repair shop.
d. To buy: picked up some milk at the store.
e. To accept (a bill or charge) in order to pay it: Let me pick up the tab.
f. To come down with (a disease): picked up a virus at school.
g. To gain: picked up five yards on that play. Informal
To take into custody: The agents picked up six smugglers. Slang
To make casual acquaintance with, usually in anticipation of sexual relations.
a. To come upon and follow: The dog picked up the scent.
b. To come upon and observe: picked up two submarines on sonar.
c. To receive, detect, or register: Did the microphone pick up that sound?
To continue after a break: Let's pick up the discussion after lunch. Informal
To improve in condition or activity: Sales picked up last fall. Informal
a. To prepare a sudden departure: She just picked up and left.
b. In golf, to grab one's ball from the ground while it is in play, indicating that one has given up.
Origin of pick
Middle English piken to prick from
Old English pīcian to prick and from
Old French piquer to pierce
Vulgar Latin piccāre
; see pique