Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

pick

play
verb \ˈpik\

Definition of pick

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to pierce, penetrate, or break up with a pointed instrument <picked the hard clay>

  3. 2 a :  to remove bit by bit <pick meat from bones> b :  to remove covering or adhering matter from <pick the bones>

  4. 3 a :  to gather by plucking <pick apples> b :  choose, select <tried to pick the shortest route> c :  to make (one's way) slowly and carefully <picked his way through the rubble>

  5. 4 a :  pilfer, rob <pick pockets> b :  to obtain useful information from by questioning —used in such phrases as pick the brains of

  6. 5 :  provoke <pick a quarrel>

  7. 6 a :  to dig into :  probe <picking his teeth> b :  to pluck (as a guitar) with a pick or with the fingers c :  to loosen or pull apart with a sharp point <pick wool>

  8. 7 :  to unlock with a device (as a wire) other than the key <pick a lock>

  9. intransitive verb
  10. 1 :  to use or work with a pick

  11. 2 :  to gather or harvest something by plucking

  12. 3 :  pilfer —used in the phrase picking and stealing

  13. 4 :  to eat sparingly or mincingly <picking listlessly at his dinner>

pick and choose

  1. :  to select with care and deliberation

pick at

  1. :  to criticize repeatedly especially for minor faults :  nag

pick on

  1. :  to single out for criticism, teasing, or bullying <picked on smaller boys>; also :  to single out for a particular purpose or for special attention



Origin and Etymology of pick

Middle English piken, partly from Old English *pīcian (akin to Middle Dutch picken to prick); partly from Middle French piquer to prick — more at pike


First Known Use: 14th century


2

pick

noun

Definition of pick

  1. 1 :  a blow or stroke with a pointed instrument

  2. 2 a :  the act or privilege of choosing or selecting :  choice <take your pick> b :  the best or choicest one <the pick of the herd> c :  one that is picked <his pick for vice president>

  3. 3 :  the portion of a crop gathered at one time <the first pick of peaches>

  4. 4 :  a screen in basketball



15th Century

First Known Use of pick

15th century


3

pick

noun

Definition of pick

  1. 1 :  a heavy wooden-handled iron or steel tool pointed at one or both ends — compare mattock

  2. 2 a :  toothpick b :  picklock c :  a small thin piece (as of plastic or metal) used to pluck the strings of a stringed instrument

  3. 3 :  one of the points on the forepart of the blade of a skate used in figure skating

  4. 4 :  a comb with long widely spaced teeth used to give height to a hairstyle



Illustration of pick

Origin and Etymology of pick

Middle English pik


First Known Use: 14th century


4

pick

verb

Definition of pick

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 chiefly dialect :  to throw or thrust with effort :  hurl

  3. 2 :  to throw (a shuttle) across the loom



Origin and Etymology of pick

Middle English pykken to pitch (a tent); akin to Middle English picchen to pitch


First Known Use: 1523


5

pick

noun

Definition of pick

  1. 1 dial English a :  the act of pitching or throwing b :  something thrown

  2. 2 a :  a throw of the shuttle b :  a filling thread



1627

First Known Use of pick

1627



PICK Defined for Kids

1

pick

play
verb \ˈpik\

Definition of pick for Students

picked

picking

  1. 1 :  to gather one by one <Pick your own strawberries.>

  2. 2 :  to remove bit by bit <I picked the pepperoni off my pizza.>

  3. 3 :  to remove unwanted material from between or inside <He picked his teeth.>

  4. 4 :  choose 1, select <Pick a card.>

  5. 5 :  to walk along slowly and carefully <Picking our way through debris, we crossed the tracks … — Richard Peck, A Year Down Yonder>

  6. 6 :  to eat sparingly or in a finicky manner <She picked at her dinner.>

  7. 7 :  to steal from <pick a pocket>

  8. 8 :  to start (a fight) with someone deliberately

  9. 9 :  to pluck with the fingers or with a pick <pick a banjo>

  10. 10 :  to unlock without a key <pick a lock>

picker

noun

pick on

  1. :  to single out for mean treatment

pick up

  1. 1 :  to take hold of and lift <She picked the book up.>

  2. 2 :  to clean up :  tidy <Pick up your room.>

  3. 3 :  to stop for and take along <The bus picked up passengers.>

  4. 4 :  learn 1 <Readers often pick up new words from their reading.>

  5. 5 :  to get without great effort or by chance <He picked up a bad habit.>

  6. 6 :  to get by buying <pick up a bargain>

  7. 7 :  to begin again after a temporary stop <Let's pick up our discussion tomorrow.>

  8. 8 :  to bring within range of hearing <My radio picks up foreign broadcasts.>

  9. 9 :  to gain or get back speed or strength <The wind is picking up.>




2

pick

play
noun

Definition of pick for Students

  1. 1 :  a heavy tool with a wooden handle and a blade pointed at one or both ends for loosening or breaking up soil or rock

  2. 2 :  a slender pointed instrument <ice pick>

  3. 3 :  a thin piece of metal or plastic used to pluck the strings of a musical instrument

  4. 4 :  the act or opportunity of choosing <I had my pick of flavors.>

  5. 5 :  1choice 3 <Who's your pick to win?>

  6. 6 :  the best ones <the pick of the crop>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up pick? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

the act or an instance of embezzling

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

fox-in-summer-forest

Which of these is a synonym of inchoate?

formless frightening experimental massive
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ