pick·​off | \ ˈpik-ˌȯf How to pronounce pickoff (audio) \

Definition of pickoff

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a baseball play in which a base runner is picked off

pick off

picked off; picking off; picks off

Definition of pick off (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to shoot or bring down especially one by one
2 : to put out (a base runner who is off base) with a quick throw (as from the pitcher or catcher)
3 : intercept picked off a pass

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Synonyms for pickoff

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of pickoff in a Sentence

Noun He made a pickoff throw to third base. Verb picked off more passes than any other player in the division
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Granted, this was Class A, but the 10th tended to be full of four-pitch walks, errant pickoff throws, fielding errors and the occasional run-scoring balk. Dallas News, "MLB’s new extra-inning rule presents Rangers with unique chances and challenges," 12 July 2020 On an errant pickoff throw to first base, Mateo went first-to-third, sliding in safely ahead of the throw. Matt Kawahara, SFChronicle.com, "A’s infield hopeful Jorge Mateo puts speed on display," 3 Mar. 2020 According to Dynasty League Baseball's 2019 player ratings, the Nationals' right-hander has a C+ grade for his pickoff move and a +4 rating (the worst a pitcher can have) in delivering the ball to the plate with runners on base. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Simulated World Series: Nationals' Anibal Sanchez is superb in Game 3," 24 Oct. 2019 Perez singled to left, and Anderson signaled for a double steal, which appeared to be thwarted by a pickoff play. Mark Schmetzer, Cincinnati.com, "Top games in Cincinnati Reds history: No. 36 – 'Had 'em all the way,' nine-run comeback vs. Cubs," 19 June 2019 Texas went ahead in the third when Shin-Soo Choo doubled and scored on an errant pickoff throw by Masahiro Tanaka (11-9). San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rangers close out ballpark 6-1 over AL East champ Yankees," 29 Sep. 2019 The Rockies committed an error on a pickoff throw, too. Beth Harris, The Denver Post, "Peter Lambert crushed by Dodgers as Rockies fall at Chavez Ravine," 21 Sep. 2019 In the fifth inning, Freddy Galvis drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw. Bobby Nightengale, Cincinnati.com, "Anthony DeSclafani, Cincinnati Reds make MLB history in 1-0 loss to Arizona Diamondbacks," 15 Sep. 2019 Ladendorf and Falsetti agreed that the new rule requiring pitchers to step off the rubber before attempting a pickoff throw has emboldened runners to steal bases when a left-handed pitcher is on the mound. Ryan Nilsson, chicagotribune.com, "Chicago-area baseball players along for the ride as Atlantic League tests new rules: ‘The whole point is to get it right.’," 3 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pickoff.' 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 pickoff


1911, in the meaning defined above


1810, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for pickoff

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The first known use of pickoff was in 1810

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Statistics for pickoff

Last Updated

21 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pickoff.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pickoff. Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for pickoff


How to pronounce pick off (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pickoff

US, baseball : a play in which a runner who is close to a base is tagged out when the pitcher or catcher quickly throws the ball to that base

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