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 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 So far, players say, the pickoff rule has succeeded in sparking more steal attempts, though many of those attempts have resulted in runners thrown out. Alex Putterman, courant.com, "Automatic strike zone? Stealing first base? New Britain Bees at center of baseball experimentation," 22 July 2019 Plesac walked Victor Reyes to begin the game, then erased him with his MLB-leading fifth pickoff. Brian Dulik, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers limited to one hit in 8-0 loss vs. 4 Cleveland pitchers," 17 July 2019 Ramirez advanced two bases on an errant pickoff throw by Newcomb. sun-sentinel.com, "Marlins stun Braves with four runs in ninth inning and walk-off sac fly in 10th," 11 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of pickoff was in 1810

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Statistics for pickoff

Last Updated

19 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Pickoff.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/picks%20off. Accessed 26 January 2020.

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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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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pickoff

Comments on pickoff

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


to express in a more acceptable way

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