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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for pickup

Synonyms: Verb

get, learn, master

Antonyms: Verb


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Anyone with information about the silver pickup truck can contact the State Highway Patrol at 419-332-0085 or 419-625-6565. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland.com, "Teen pedestrian dies in hit-and-run in Northwest Ohio," 16 Sep. 2019 Between adrenaline-fueled chases, the shells of sunflower seeds piled up outside the windows of their idling pickup trucks. New York Times, "‘People Actively Hate Us’: Inside the Border Patrol’s Morale Crisis," 15 Sep. 2019 The pickup truck was stolen, and the driver, a man, was also taken to the hospital, police said in an alert. Anchorage Daily News, "Police: Woman badly injured after pickup crashes into other vehicles while fleeing officers," 14 Sep. 2019 After some more false starts, the case heated up when a crime analyst from the Lakewood police department found evidence of a pickup truck that had been parked near the victim’s house there. Mahita Gajanan, Time, "The True Story Behind the Netflix Series Unbelievable," 12 Sep. 2019 Under pressure from the federal government, General Motors is recalling more than 3.4 million big pickup trucks and SUVs in the U.S to fix a brake problem. CBS News, "GM recalls over 3.4M pickups, SUVs to fix brake problem," 11 Sep. 2019 The company unveiled sleek prototypes of its electric pickup truck and SUV models last year. Robert Channick, chicagotribune.com, "Rivian, aiming to be Tesla of trucks, gets $350 million investment as it gears up to open Illinois factory," 11 Sep. 2019 The scrolls and other pieces of artwork were loaded into a congregation member’s pickup truck. Brady Slater, Twin Cities, "Members devastated as Duluth synagogue burns to the ground," 9 Sep. 2019 The victim stated a black male exited a vehicle and stole his leaf blower from the bed of his pickup truck. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire Police Department weekly report," 9 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

My mom wasn’t preppy like the other mothers at camp pickup day, who wore ponytails and matchy outfits. Devorah Heitner, Longreads, "What’s Happening to My Body?," 13 Sep. 2019 Ford’s best-selling F150 pickup truck, for instance, is reckoned to have around 150m lines of code. The Economist, "A connected world will be a playground for hackers," 12 Sep. 2019 The two companies announced plans in January to collaborate on developing commercial vans and medium-sized pickup trucks while exploring electric and autonomous vehicles together. Tom Krisher, chicagotribune.com, "Volkswagen to invest $2.6 billion in Ford robocar firm as part of electric vehicle tie-up," 12 July 2019 The two companies announced plans in January to collaborate on developing commercial vans and medium-sized pickup trucks while exploring electric and autonomous vehicles together. Washington Post, "VW, Ford broaden alliance to autonomous, electric vehicles," 12 July 2019 Back in January, the two car makers announced plans to share technology and platforms, starting with new commercial vehicles like vans and medium-sized pickup trucks. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Volkswagen will share electric car platform with Ford, says Reuters," 5 July 2019 The Pennsylvania retailer, growing in the Baltimore area, has rapidly expanded from four stores with curbside pickup two years ago to 177 with delivery and curbside service. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, "Go to the supermarket? Increasing numbers of Baltimore-area shoppers buy their groceries online instead.," 15 Aug. 2019 The company also announced exclusive partnerships with Disney, Hilton, and AEG Worldwide venues to provide riders special offers and dedicated pickup spots. Fortune, "Lyft’s Shares Jump 5% On Smaller-Than-Expected Losses," 7 Aug. 2019 Police found the man’s pickup truck in the parking lot of the Pearl Road bar. Brian Lisik, cleveland.com, "Police investigate break-in at Willow Lake Campground: Brunswick Hills Township Police Blotter," 26 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

He was waived by Tennessee before the start of the season, picked up by the Dolphins but placed on injured reserve for the 2018 season. Charlotte Carroll, SI.com, "Jets Quarterback Trevor Siemian Out Year With Ankle Injury," 17 Sep. 2019 Japanese escort ships picked up some of the prisoners from the Kachidoki Maru, but the Rakuyo Maru survivors were left to die. Carl Nolte, SFChronicle.com, "Yes, she’s a Fisherman’s Wharf tourist attraction. But her story could make you cry," 14 Sep. 2019 Third, another change to the same enzyme reduced the chance that the virus could pick up genes by recombining with other viruses in the recipient. Patricia L. Foster, The Conversation, "A newly designed vaccine may help stamp out remaining polio cases worldwide," 13 Sep. 2019 Last week’s Taliban car bomb targeted a foreign compound but instead shredded Afghan homes, with stunned and bloodied families picking up children and fleeing in darkness as their once-solid world collapsed. Washington Post, "Afghans fear Trump’s Taliban move means more civilians die," 12 Sep. 2019 Rather than seeing it as competition, Vaughn sees opportunity to pick up the customers who don't want to wait in long Starbucks lines — or who want to spend their dollars at a local business instead. Dahlia Ghabour, The Courier-Journal, "Please & Thank You coffee shops announce Prospect location and mobile ordering app," 11 Sep. 2019 Police targeted drivers who passed school buses picking up students, according to the post. Rebecca Hennes, Houston Chronicle, "51 Houston drivers caught violating school zone traffic laws during Klein ISD traffic initiative," 10 Sep. 2019 None of the local channels picked up the Vikings-Falcons game. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, "Vikings’ Hercules Mata’afa finally plays, even though family in Hawaii can’t watch," 10 Sep. 2019 Was on the recruiting map as a freshman, picking up a BYU offer. Richard Obert, azcentral, "Week 4 Game of the Week: Top college football prospects from ALA Queen Creek, Phoenix Christian," 10 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pickup

Statistics for pickup

Last Updated

14 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pickup

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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


suitable to be imparted to the public

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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