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

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
d : the act of collecting someone or something to be carried or transported away Is your order for pickup or delivery? We'll call your name when your food is ready for pickup. … please have your party call you for pickup after they have retrieved their luggage.— Rebecca Turco
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 or pickup truck : a light truck having an enclosed cab and an open body with low sides and tailgate
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

Synonyms & Antonyms for pickup

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of pickup in a Sentence

Noun The fee pays for garbage pickup. The school bus was late for its afternoon pickup. The truck is scheduled to make a pickup today. Adjective He plays with pickup bands at nightclubs. What's the pickup scene like in this city? Verb 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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun However, Ford’s dumping of some of its Rivian shares comes right as the first batch of customers receive its own iteration of the electric pickup truck, the Ford-150 Lightning. Soo Youn, Washington Post, 13 May 2022 At first glance, this could be any other Ford F-150 pickup, but the aerodynamic wheels and nose treatment mark it out as the all-electric F-150 Lightning. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 12 May 2022 By moving quickly, Ford essentially has the electric pickup market to itself for now. New York Times, 12 May 2022 Along with the announcement, Volkswagen provided sketches of a rugged, boxy SUV and pickup truck duo, with an upturned window line that recalls the rear glass from the ‘60s original. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 11 May 2022 The Endurance, the electric pickup truck designed by Lordstown Motors, will be manufactured by Foxconn at the Lordstown facility. Sean Mcdonnell, cleveland, 11 May 2022 Most pickup owners probably drive much less than 200 miles on a typical day, though, and could easily recharge overnight. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, 11 May 2022 The company uses a proprietary app to prepare for incoming waste weighed at each house pickup. Derek Gatopoulos, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 May 2022 The two had known each other since their days playing post-practice pickup games with the Spurs in the early 2000s. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, 9 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The morning after the parade, Andrew Giuliani drove to the Bellmore train station on Long Island, where hundreds gathered to meet and greet Republican candidates in a parking lot jammed with pickup trucks and festooned with Trump flags. Washington Post, 11 Apr. 2022 That’s when the men in two pickup trucks pulled up. al, 5 Apr. 2022 There is no delivery option, and most pickup times for restaurants are either midmorning or very late at night. Nick Kindelsperger, chicagotribune.com, 22 Mar. 2022 And Instacart, which handles online ordering and delivery for a range of stores, charges a pickup fee from certain retailers that’s equivalent to a delivery fee. Lorraine Mirabella, Baltimore Sun, 15 Mar. 2022 To the amateur eye, the webs of the different species here generally divide into grids, often in fan-like expanses, pillowy canopies and crazed masses of strands that can resemble tossed pickup sticks suspended in air. New York Times, 20 Feb. 2022 Take-home dinners will be available for pickup Wednesday, Nov. 24, and Thursday, Nov. 25. Keith Pandolfi, The Enquirer, 17 Nov. 2021 Democrats, meanwhile, see pickup opportunities in open governorships in Maryland and in Arizona, where Biden last year became just the second Democratic presidential candidate to win since 1948. BostonGlobe.com, 7 Nov. 2021 Finally, on the night of August 25, Nazari and the others were driven to the airport in a convoy of three pickup trucks, escorted by Afghan commandos. George Packer, The Atlantic, 10 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Annenberg introduced Governor Newsom, the last speaker before the dignitaries would pick up their golden shovels and pose for photos. Emily Witt, The New Yorker, 17 May 2022 When Young's adult son, Damon, arrived at the store to pick up his mother, he was met with sirens and police cars in the parking lot, her niece, Jacqueline Wright, told the news outlet. Cady Stanton, USA TODAY, 16 May 2022 Roberta Drury had recently returned home to live with her mother, Dezzelynn McDuffie, who told The Buffalo News that the 32-year-old woman — the youngest of the people slain — had walked to Tops to pick up some groceries Saturday afternoon. CBS News, 16 May 2022 Parenthood is a never-ending cycle of leaning over to pick up the baby, then leaning over to put the baby down again. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, 15 May 2022 Katherine Massey, who had gone to the store to pick up some groceries, also was killed, according to the Buffalo News. Chicago Tribune, 15 May 2022 Democrats see the race to replace Pennsylvania’s retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey as one of their best opportunities pick up a Senate seat this fall. Marc Levy And Steve Peoples, Anchorage Daily News, 15 May 2022 Katherine Massey, who had gone to the store to pick up some groceries, also was killed, according to the Buffalo News. Carolyn Thompson And Michael Balsamo, The Christian Science Monitor, 15 May 2022 The right-hander worked a season-high in innings, walking one and striking out four to pick up the victory and run his record to 2-1. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 14 May 2022 See More

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.

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

Learn More About pickup

Time Traveler for pickup

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near pickup

pick tree


pick up

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for pickup

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pickup.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pickup. Accessed 23 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for pickup


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

Kids Definition of pickup

: a light truck with an open body and low sides

More from Merriam-Webster on pickup

Nglish: Translation of pickup for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pickup


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!