pick·​up | \ˈpik-ˌəp \

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

b : acceleration

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


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

1a : understand, appreciate

b : to become aware of : notice

2 : to adopt as one's own : take up

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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 was traveling off of westbound I-70 and struck the woman's vehicle on the driver's side. Vic Ryckaert, Indianapolis Star, "Woman awaiting help on I-70 is fatally struck by passing vehicle," 11 July 2018 No designated spot just yet, but the drop-off/pickup is right in front of the hotel at the valet station. Ed Barkowitz, Philly.com, "Comparing the sportsbooks at Atlantic City's Borgata and Ocean Resort ahead of the World Cup final," 11 July 2018 About a half-hour later, Burns’ pickup was traveling east on East Sample Road at 90 mph, where the posted speed limit is 45 mph. Linda Trischitta, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Man accused of drunken driving in deadly 2016 crash," 2 July 2018 When quick pickup for passing is necessary, the Sport mode is the best choice. G. Chambers Williams Iii, Houston Chronicle, "Hyundai’s 2018 Ioniq Hybrid has starting price of $22,200," 1 July 2018 Chevy Blazer GM’s Chevrolet Silverado pickup was the top-selling model imported from Mexico last year, while the Chevrolet Equinox crossover was the leading vehicle sourced from Canada, according to LMC Automotive. Bloomberg, Fortune, "BMW and Hyundai Join GM in Pressing U.S. to Forgo Auto Tariffs," 1 July 2018 However, the recent pickup in headline inflation has been almost entirely due to a rise in energy prices, which were 8% higher than a year earlier in June, having been up just 2.6% over the year in April. Paul Hannon, WSJ, "Eurozone Inflation Tops ECB Target for First Time in More Than a Year," 29 June 2018 The pickup is missing its passenger-side headlight, police said. Anchorage Daily News, "Woman killed by pickup truck in hit-and-run, police say," 16 June 2018 Online pickups will be along the side of the building. Denise Coffey, Courant Community, "Brooklyn Walmart To Offer Online Grocery Shopping," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Allen took an unofficial visit to UK’s campus in June but was unable to play in pickup games with the current Wildcats as originally planned due to a minor injury. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Pendleton County star Dontaie Allen shines as Calipari and Mack watch," 14 July 2018 All of it signals a battle ahead for the midsize pickup market share, analysts said. Jamie L. Lareau, Detroit Free Press, "General Motors topping Ford in pickup market share," 12 July 2018 Media: The Baltimore Sun Women usually don’t use pickup lines on male bartenders. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "Bar Star: Gee Lee at Yauatcha," 3 July 2018 Among the highlights for Dawson were pickup basketball games with the 6-foot-5 Eldredge. Nancy Kruh, PEOPLE.com, "Devin Dawson Goes Easy on Brett Eldredge with End of Tour Prank: 'We May Have to Up the Ante' Next Time," 21 June 2018 House Democrats, who need a net gain of 23 seats to win the majority, are eyeing possible pickup opportunities in this district and two others where Clinton won in 2016. Nicole Gaudiano, USA TODAY, "Tuesday's elections reward military veterans, bring Stacey Abrams closer to making history," 23 May 2018 That battle has manifested most clearly in a Democratic congressional primary outside Houston, in one of Texas Democrats' best pickup opportunities of 2018. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Georgia's disappointing Democrats," 22 May 2018 In the auto industry's intense pickup truck wars, competition is fierce. David Brinkerhoff, USA TODAY, "Chevrolet, Ram pickup trucks could capitalize on Ford F-150 production shutdown," 9 May 2018 On weekends, his father took him to play in pickup basketball games on the base. Alexandra Wolfe, WSJ, "Ray Allen’s Life After the NBA," 9 Mar. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

But Dussutour’s work suggests that the slime molds can sometimes pick up these behaviors through a form of communication, not just through experience. Katia Moskvitch, WIRED, "Slime Molds Remember—But Do They Learn?," 14 July 2018 This year, Berrada companies picked up four properties from Elijah Mohammad Rashaed, whose properties have been effectively placed in receivership as part of the city attorney's effort to drive him out of the business. Kevin Crowe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'He'll evict you in a minute.' Landlord quietly becomes a force in Milwaukee rental business...and eviction court," 13 July 2018 Lotus pose Social media also picked up on a scene that had Ariana seated and making a lotus pose with her fingers. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Ariana Grande's "God Is a Woman" Music Video Is Full of Vagina References," 13 July 2018 After a physical skirmish ensued, TMZ continues to claim that YG picked up the necklace medallion straight off the floor before fleeing the scene, according to surveillance footage. Michael Saponara, Billboard, "YG Arrested in Las Vegas For Felony Robbery Charges: Report," 13 July 2018 Alex Bregman dribbled a ball a few feet from home plate that A's catcher Jonathan Lucroy picked up. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Watch: Astros Win on One of the Weirdest Walk-Offs in Baseball History," 11 July 2018 That data, however, did not take into account the many types of side hustles that workers pick up in addition to their full-time jobs. Brittany Shoot, Fortune, "Jobs Report: Workers Are Quitting Their Jobs at Dotcom Bubble Rates," 10 July 2018 Lane said Salt River Project customers could pick up a 10-pound bag of ice for free at the QuickTrip locations at 517 W. McKellips Road and 1141 S. Crismon Road in Mesa while crews worked to fix the outage. Brieanna J Frank, azcentral, "Nearly 100,000 without power in the Valley after severe storm," 9 July 2018 Through the three group stage matches, Japan fans have stayed late to help stadium workers pick up trash in the stands. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Japan fans still stayed to clean the stadium after heartbreaking World Cup loss," 2 July 2018

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

11 Nov 2018

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 \

Kids Definition of pickup

: a light truck with an open body and low sides

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Comments on pickup

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


a private place of worship

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