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

Independence Brewing’s new beer, Native Texan pilsner, comes in a can that seems styled after the sticker with the same words that adorns many a pickup truck in this state. Markus Haas, San Antonio Express-News, "Your guide to 8 great summer beers," 12 July 2018 Libyan forces loyal to eastern commander Khalifa Haftar ride a pickup truck at the Zueitina oil terminal in Zueitina, Libya, in 2016. Sarah Mcfarlane, WSJ, "Oil Tumbles on Libya’s Returning Supply," 11 July 2018 Several men used a pickup truck to ram into the front of a gas station convenience store and dragged an ATM out of the building, said Lt. Samantha Ketterer, Houston Chronicle, "Two businesses on Wayside struck within half-hour in attempted smash-and-grabs," 10 July 2018 Social media showed photos of staff working on laptops from a pickup truck in a garage near the newsroom. Allison Klein, The Seattle Times, "Journalists from across the country line up to help the Capital Gazette after newsroom massacre," 10 July 2018 The family was returning from a trip to Ocean City, Maryland, Friday on U.S. Route 1 when police said a pickup truck crossed the median for unknown reasons and hit the minivan and another car. CBS News, "New details emerge after N.J. mom survives crash that killed husband, 4 daughters," 9 July 2018 On Saturday, a pickup truck overturned down an embankment just past the Old Town Avenue exit on south I-5, seriously injuring the driver. Lyndsay Winkley, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Motorcyclist dies in crash on Old Town off-ramp," 8 July 2018 Ribando is accused of throwing a brick at her husband and crashing an SUV into a pickup truck during an argument around 11 p.m. Tuesday, the station reported. Robert Gearty, Fox News, "Mom arrested after newborn, 2-year-old sister found dead in rural Kansas," 6 July 2018 Survivors of the attack stayed on the job that afternoon and evening, filing stories and photographs from the back of a pickup truck and getting the paper onto its subscribers’ doorsteps the following morning and every morning since. Nicholas Bogel-burroughs, baltimoresun.com, "American Society of News Editors calls for global moment of silence to honor Capital Gazette shooting victims," 3 July 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

So Lerner wrote a press release that was distributed to the local media and later picked up by the Associated Press. J. Harry Jones, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Small Valley Center history museum draws big crowds," 13 July 2018 Artemis was picked up preemptively by Fox and New Regency last May. Simon Kinberg and Aditya Sood are producing via Genre Films. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Captain Marvel' Writer Geneva Robertson-Dworet Penning Phil Lord and Chris Miller's 'Artemis'," 13 July 2018 He was picked up Tuesday evening along Miami Avenue. Michael Baldwin, Cincinnati.com, "Police: 4-month-old in hospital with brain injury, father being questioned," 11 July 2018 The two most likely scenarios, and not necessarily in this order,involve him being traded or being designated for assignment and then picked up by another club. Jeff Wilson, star-telegram, "Rangers continue to talk trades, but are they getting anywhere?," 9 July 2018 The then-freshman picked up the football on a botched punt and returned it for a touchdown to give the Spartans a 27-23 win over the Wolverines. Ryan Gaydos, Fox News, "Michigan State football hero to join US Air Force," 6 July 2018 The trash and recycling pick-up schedule will be altered this week due to the July 4 holiday, according to Paine’s Inc. Residents who have trash and recycling picked up on Monday and Tuesday will maintain that schedule. Mikaela Porter, Courant Community, "West Hartford Trash, Recycling Collection Schedule Altered Due To July 4 Holiday," 2 July 2018 This move falls in line with the Pacers' aim to put better shooters out there, especially with Young (a non-stretch four) picking up his player option. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Breaking down Pacers' decision to open free agency by signing journeyman Doug McDermott," 1 July 2018 But travelers and those picking up passengers should still allow extra time to navigate construction areas and congestion at the airport curbside. Kelly Yamanouchi, ajc, "Hartsfield-Jackson parking squeeze causes travel hassles," 29 June 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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Learn More about pickup

Phrases Related to pickup

pickup line

Statistics for pickup

Last Updated

2 Sep 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

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to make amends

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