pick·​up | \ ˈpik-ˌəp How to pronounce pickup (audio) \

Definition of pickup

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 : one that is picked up: such as
a : a hitchhiker who is given a ride
b : a temporary chance acquaintance
c : a player acquired from another team
2 : the act or process of picking up: such as
a : a revival of business activity
c : the act or technique of making the acquaintance of a previously unknown person especially for amorous purposes
3 : the conversion of mechanical movements into electrical impulses in the reproduction of sound also : a device (as on an electric guitar) for making such conversion
4a : the reception of sound or an image into a radio or television transmitting apparatus for conversion into electrical signals
b : a device (such as a microphone or a television camera) for converting sound or the image of a scene into electrical signals
5 : a light truck having an enclosed cab and an open body with low sides and tailgate

called also pickup truck

6 : a pickup game playing pickup



Definition of pickup (Entry 2 of 3)

: utilizing or comprising local or available personnel especially without formal organization a pickup basketball game a pickup band

pick up

picked up; picking up; picks up

Definition of pick up (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1a : to take hold of and lift up
b : to gather together : collect picked up all the pieces
c : to clean up : tidy
2 : to take (passengers or freight) into a vehicle
3a : to acquire casually or by chance picked up a valuable antique at an auction
b : to acquire by study or experience : learn picking up a great deal of knowledge in the process— Robert Schleicher
c : to obtain especially by payment : buy picked up some groceries
d : to acquire (a player) especially from another team through a trade or by financial recompense
e : to accept for the purpose of paying offered to pick up the tab
f : to come down with : catch picked up a cold
g : gain, earn picked up a few yards on the last play picked up her first victory
4a : to enter informally into conversation or companionship with (a previously unknown person) had a brief affair with a girl he picked up in a bar
b : to take into custody the police picked up the fugitive
5a : to catch sight of : perceive picked up the harbor lights
b : to come to and follow picked up the outlaw's trail
c : to bring within range of sight or hearing pick up distant radio signals
d : understand, catch didn't pick up the hint
6a : revive
b : increase
7 : to resume after a break : continue pick up the discussion tomorrow
8 : to assume responsibility for guarding (an opponent) in an athletic contest
9 : to provide needed support or assistance to (someone who has faltered or failed, such as a teammate who has made an error) in a collaborative effort … Burns allowed only five hits and did not issue a walk. She also picked up her teammates after several fielding errors.— John Knebels We have faith. We don't panic. Even in all these one-run ballgames, we have trust in each other that we're going to pull it out. We pick each other up. On days we're not pitching it great, our offense gets going and vice versa.— Marco Gonzales

intransitive verb

1 : to recover or increase speed, vigor, or activity : improve after the strike, business picked up the wind began to pick up
2 : to put things in order was always picking up after her
3 : to pack up one's belongings couldn't just pick up and leave
pick up on
b : to become aware of : notice
2 : to adopt as one's own : take up

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Synonyms & Antonyms for pickup

Synonyms: Verb

get, learn, master

Antonyms: Verb


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Examples of pickup in a Sentence


The fee pays for garbage pickup. The school bus was late for its afternoon pickup. The truck is scheduled to make a pickup today.


He plays with pickup bands at nightclubs. What's the pickup scene like in this city?


he has a knack for picking up a language in a few weeks pick up all of your things because we have to be off this beach before dark
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The pickup driver, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, pleaded not guilty to negligent homicide and remains behind bars. Washington Post, "Thousands will ride to honor 7 bikers killed in crash," 5 July 2019 The pickup driver, Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, 23, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to negligent homicide. Michael Casey, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Tough to lose your brothers’: Funerals held for bikers," 28 June 2019 The pickup driver charged in the deaths of seven motorcyclists in New Hampshire could face deportation. Ashley Shaffer, USA TODAY, "'I wouldn't tell anybody this'," 27 June 2019 The pickup’s driver, a 35-year-old Watsonville man, suffered no injuries in the crash. Bay City News, The Mercury News, "Motorcyclist killed on rural road south of Gilroy," 26 June 2019 Police arrested the pickup truck driver who allegedly caused a crash in New Hampshire last Friday that killed seven motorcyclists, CBS Boston reports. CBS News, "Truck driver charged in New Hampshire crash that killed 7 motorcyclists," 24 June 2019 The pickup driver, 23-year-old Volodoymyr Zhukovskyy, was arrested and charged with seven counts of negligent homicide, according to CBS News. Ashley Boucher, PEOPLE.com, "400 Bikers Pay Tribute to Motorcyclists Killed in New Hampshire Crash: 'When They Fall, We All Fall'," 24 June 2019 The pickup driver wasn't injured, but Hampton, who was taken to Froedtert Hospital, and his 17-year-old passenger, who was not identified by police and was taken to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, required emergency assistance. Jim Riccioli, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "An 18-year-old teenager was killed in a car crash in Muskego one week before his high school graduation," 10 June 2019 The pickup driver, 34-year-old Piper Reed, was also killed, along with her golden retriever. Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times, "‘You can’t imagine a better life than they lived’: Retired King County judge and his wife are remembered after dying in crash that also killed a woman and dog," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Just before dusk, the first pickup trucks roll past the checkpoint and array themselves across the desert on the outskirts of Agadez, Niger. Robert Draper, National Geographic, "Surrounded by chaos, Niger is a nation on the edge," 17 June 2019 The company wants to focus mainly on its commercial van and pickup truck businesses on the continent, where Ford made a pretax loss of $398 million last year. Keith Naughton, Fortune, "Ford Will Shutter U.K. Engine Plant, Extending String of Closures Across Europe," 6 June 2019 Waste Management will not provide garbage, recycling or compostables pickup Thursday for customers in all of King County and most of Snohomish. Heidi Groover, The Seattle Times, "Risk of power outages in Puget Sound after Canadian pipeline explosion cuts off natural-gas supply," 10 Oct. 2018 Last year, pickup buyers paid more than $44,000 on average for a full-size model, 61% higher than a decade earlier, according to research firm J.D. Power. Mike Colias, WSJ, "Prices of Pickup Trucks Charge Into Luxury-Car Territory," 11 Feb. 2019 Democrats are struggling for traction in a series of contests that should be prime pickup opportunities — on paper, at least. Steve Peoples, Fox News, "Overconfident? Dem optimism surges as midterms approach," 22 Sep. 2018 In our Lab's test, this GH Seal star exhibited excellent pickup of oatmeal, baking soda, orzo pasta, and sand on our bare floor — and its pickup performance on carpet was also good. Sarah Bogdan, Good Housekeeping, "The 5 Best Robot Vacuums, According to Cleaning Experts," 21 Nov. 2018 Officials did confirm that five vehicles were involved, including three pickup trucks. Nathan J. Fish, azcentral, "Serious crash involving 5 vehicles shuts Phoenix intersection," 13 July 2018 Tesla's forthcoming electric pickup truck will have standard four-wheel-drive and a high-tech suspension that enables a smooth ride, CEO Elon Musk promised Tuesday. Nathan Bomey, USA TODAY, "Tesla CEO Elon Musk: Electric pickup truck will have 'crazy' features," 26 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Orlando City picked up four yellow cards by the final whistle and striker Dom Dwyer earned a red card ejection in stoppage after throwing an elbow. Julia Poe, Pro Soccer USA, "Orlando City grinds out 1-0 win despite stagnant night against Columbus," 14 July 2019 Springer picked up his head to watch Elvis Andrus race home and seal the Rangers' 9-8 walkoff win. Hunter Atkins, Houston Chronicle, "Rangers rally past Astros to walkoff win," 13 July 2019 Claude Lemieux picked up a loose puck behind the net, took it out front and tucked a backhander just under the bar and over the shoulder of Mike Liut. Mike Anthony, courant.com, "Mike Anthony: Dave Babych and Whalers who produced our memories return home for annual Hartford reunion," 13 July 2019 Gordon picked up the Patriots’ offense with remarkable speed last season, catching 40 passes for 720 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games before his missteps. Jim Mcbride, BostonGlobe.com, "With #WinWithWynnWednesday, Isaiah Wynn a study in the power of positive thinking," 13 July 2019 Algeria right back Youcef Atal picked up a shoulder injury in their the quarter-final clash with Ivory Coast and is a doubt for the game. SI.com, "Algeria vs Nigeria: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News," 12 July 2019 The fourth-year Cup Series driver picked up his first win at Chicagoland two weeks ago and was 14th in early practice. Jason Hoffman, Cincinnati.com, "Here's why it's almost impossible to play catch-up at Kentucky Speedway's Quaker State 400," 12 July 2019 His mother picked up the card and immediately asked me to leave. Dear Abby, oregonlive.com, "Dear Abby: Attempt at adult ‘humor’ doesn’t go over well at 18-year-old’s Oregon birthday party," 11 July 2019 And in 2018, Democrats picked up the governor's seat and two House districts. Keitha Paleski, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Biden lays out foreign policy agenda," 11 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pickup.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pickup


1848, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1898, in the meaning defined above


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

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Statistics for pickup

Last Updated

8 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pickup

The first known use of pickup was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pickup



English Language Learners Definition of pickup

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a small truck that has an open back with low sides
: the act of going somewhere to get a person or thing that you will then take to another place
: an increase in activity



English Language Learners Definition of pickup (Entry 2 of 2)

: organized informally with people who are available or nearby at the time
: of or relating to the act of trying to meet strangers in order to have brief sexual relationships with them


pick·​up | \ ˈpik-ˌəp How to pronounce pickup (audio) \

Kids Definition of pickup

: a light truck with an open body and low sides

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More from Merriam-Webster on pickup

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pickup

Spanish Central: Translation of pickup

Nglish: Translation of pickup for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pickup

Comments on pickup

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