pick

1 of 5

verb (1)

picked; picking; picks

transitive verb

1
: to pierce, penetrate, or break up with a pointed instrument
picked the hard clay
2
a
: to remove bit by bit
pick meat from bones
b
: to remove covering or adhering matter from
pick the bones
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
4
a
: pilfer, rob
pick pockets
b
: to obtain useful information from by questioning
used in such phrases as pick the brains of
5
: provoke
pick a quarrel
6
a
: to dig into : probe
picking his teeth
b
: to pluck (a stringed instrument, such as a guitar) with a pick or with the fingers
c
: to loosen or pull apart with a sharp point
pick wool
7
: to unlock with a device (such as a wire) other than the key
pick a lock

intransitive verb

1
: to use or work with a pick
2
: to gather or harvest something by plucking
3
: pilfer
used in the phrase picking and stealing
4
: to eat sparingly or mincingly
picking listlessly at his dinner

pick

2 of 5

noun (1)

1
: a blow or stroke with a pointed instrument
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
: the portion of a crop gathered at one time
the first pick of peaches
4
: a screen in basketball
5
football : an intercepted forward pass : interception
… McNabb had his worst game of the year. He threw two picks, fumbled twice, got sacked seven times.Paul Zimmerman

pick

3 of 5

noun (2)

1
: a heavy, usually long-handled iron or steel tool pointed at one or both ends compare mattock
2
a
b
c
: a small thin piece (as of plastic or metal) used to pluck the strings of a stringed instrument
3
: one of the points on the forepart of the blade of a skate used in figure skating
4
: a comb with long widely spaced teeth used to give height to a hairstyle

Illustration of pick

Illustration of pick
  • pick 2c

pick

4 of 5

verb (2)

picked; picking; picks

transitive verb

1
chiefly dialectal : to throw or thrust with effort : hurl
2
: to throw (a shuttle) across the loom

pick

5 of 5

noun (3)

1
dialectal, England
a
: the act of pitching or throwing
b
: something thrown
2
a
: a throw of the shuttle
b
: a filling thread
Phrases
pick and choose
: to select with care and deliberation
pick at
: to criticize repeatedly especially for minor faults : nag
pick on
: to single out for criticism, teasing, or bullying
picked on smaller boys
also : to single out for a particular purpose or for special attention

Examples of pick in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
Overall, the best portable blender is this pick from Magic Bullet Portable Blender. Brittany Vanderbill, Better Homes & Gardens, 16 Feb. 2024 Thanks to word-of-mouth and stellar reviews, these finds have transitioned from under-the-radar gems to quality picks that savvy shoppers have quietly been snapping up. Micaela Arnett, Rolling Stone, 16 Feb. 2024 This flowy pick with sleeves is ideal for more casual weddings, and there are a whopping 20 solid shades to choose from. Jake Smith, Glamour, 16 Feb. 2024 Even better, these picks can all conveniently be found at Amazon, where prices start at just $4. Alexandra Domrongchai, Travel + Leisure, 14 Feb. 2024 In contrast, quarterback Bryce Young, who achieved 98—the top score among quarterbacks on the S2—was selected as the first overall pick by the Carolina Panthers. Michael Fitzsimmons, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 And the Lakers would have loaded up on some draft picks and young players. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, 14 Feb. 2024 The Heat dealing away another first-round pick ahead of Thursday’s deadline, unless its for an All-Star talent. Anthony Chiang, Miami Herald, 4 Feb. 2024 The former Miami Hurricanes strong safety was a Bears fourth-round pick, starting 12 games in six seasons with Chicago. Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star, 4 Feb. 2024
Verb
Unlike first-round picks Jaylen Waddle and Jaelan Phillips, there is no fifth-year option for Holland, which increases the urgency for Miami to get a deal done. Daniel Oyefusi, Miami Herald, 18 Feb. 2024 Will the Commanders’ new GM Adam Peters go all-in and swap picks with the Bears to land Williams, a D.C. native? Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Feb. 2024 The team removed that from the list of unknowns with the announcement on Tuesday afternoon that the team had picked the East Crossroads. Mike Hendricks, Kansas City Star, 17 Feb. 2024 From Bose headphones to Apple AirTags, these are my top picks starting at just $13. Merrell Readman, Travel + Leisure, 16 Feb. 2024 Our cats loved to roll around with the Skitter Slices plus toys, and even picked them up in their mouths and carried the mice around with them. Cai Cramer, Peoplemag, 16 Feb. 2024 But the relative performance of these and other companies is likely to shift, and when that happens, there’s no assurance that active managers will get their stock picks right. Jeff Sommer, New York Times, 16 Feb. 2024 December marks the beginning of one of the best fruit picking seasons of the year, Strawberry season in Japan. Alissa Fitzgerald, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 He was picked by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2014 draft and has played for the team ever since. Ron Counts, Idaho Statesman, 6 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pick.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb (1)

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

Noun (2)

Middle English pik

Verb (2)

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

First Known Use

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (3)

1627, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of pick was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near pick

Cite this Entry

“Pick.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pick. Accessed 1 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition

pick

1 of 3 verb
1
: to strike, pierce, or break up with a pointed tool
2
a
: to remove matter from bit by bit by or as if by plucking
picked the bone clean
b
: to gather by plucking
pick berries
c
: to pluck with a pick or with the fingers
pick a guitar
3
a
: select entry 1, choose
pick out a dress
b
: to make (one's way) slowly and carefully
picked their way through the rubble
4
: to steal or pilfer from
pick pockets
5
: to start (a fight) with someone else deliberately
6
: to dig at or into : probe
picking his teeth
7
: to eat sparingly or in a finicky manner
picked at her dinner
8
: to unlock without a key
pick a lock
picker noun

pick

2 of 3 noun
1
: a blow or stroke with a pointed instrument
2
a
: the act or opportunity of choosing : choice
take your pick
b
: the best or choicest one or portion
took only the pick of the crop
c
: one that is picked
his pick for vice president

pick

3 of 3 noun
1
: a heavy tool with a wooden handle and a blade pointed at one or both ends used especially to loosen or break up soil or rock
2
: a slender pointed instrument
ice pick
3
: a small thin piece of metal or plastic used to pluck a stringed instrument
4
: a comb with long widely spaced teeth used in grooming hair
Etymology

Verb

Middle English piken "to pierce, pick," from Old English pīcian (same meaning) and from early French piquer "to prick" — related to pike entry 3

Noun

Middle English pik "a pick for digging"

More from Merriam-Webster on pick

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