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
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

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 Check with your city for guidelines on leaf pickup. Carol Kovach, cleveland, "Veterans Day observance planned at Tri-C Westshore Campus: West Shore Chatter," 6 Nov. 2019 Investigators on Monday released a photo of Williams and Noverr in the Butlers' pickup crossing into Mexico at the Texas border on Oct. 21. Fox News, "New Hampshire couple found dead in Texas: Warrant out for 'armed and dangerous' man," 6 Nov. 2019 Nordstrom, for example, offers its loyalty members and cardholders curbside pickup for purchases and free alterations. Sarah Skidmore Sell, chicagotribune.com, "Ho, ho, no? Reconsidering store credit cards at the holidays," 6 Nov. 2019 Retailers such as Aldi, Giant Food, Target, The Fresh Market, Wegmans, Weis Markets and others have launched or expanded online delivery or curbside pickup in the past year. Lorraine Mirabella, baltimoresun.com, "Walmart offers fee-based online grocery delivery in Baltimore," 6 Nov. 2019 Democratic pickups in Virginia occurred in Washington, D.C., and Richmond suburbs that already had trended in the party's direction in recent years. Anchorage Daily News, "Dems flip Virginia; Kentucky governor race too close to call," 6 Nov. 2019 Most pickups are done in the parking lot of a local Target, the Pioneer Press said. Allen Kim, CNN, "Krispy Kreme strikes deal with college kid who drives 250 miles to resell its doughnuts," 6 Nov. 2019 Democratic pickups in Virginia occurred in Washington, D.C., and Richmond suburbs that already had trended in the party’s direction in recent years. BostonGlobe.com, "Democrats took full control of the Virginia legislature for the first time in more than two decades while the race for governor in deeply Republican Kentucky was too close to call despite a last-minute boost from President Donald Trump.," 6 Nov. 2019 Democratic pickups in Virginia occurred in Washington, D.C., and Richmond suburbs that already had trended in the party’s direction in recent years. Bill Barrow, Twin Cities, "Dems flip Virginia; Kentucky governor race too close to call," 5 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Tacoma is the most popular midsize pickup truck on the market, selling almost 250,000 vehicles a year. Randy Diamond, ExpressNews.com, "Toyota’s $391 million expansion the first major renovation of San Antonio plant in nine years," 17 Sep. 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Since mid-September, Cheryl has been picking up passengers from Grand Celebration who had chosen volunteering as their shore excursion. Andrea Sachs, Houston Chronicle, "In the Bahamas, a hard-hit island beckons again," 15 Nov. 2019 Ultimately, the movie is about the power of kindness and the lack of empathy in the world, and the audience seems to have picked up on that. Josh Rottenberg, chicagotribune.com, "Why Joaquin Phoenix likes your ‘Joker’ theories. He’s also got his own," 14 Nov. 2019 On Tuesday morning, Ron Barlip stopped by a sunny Spenard office to pick up a check. Michelle Theriault Boots, Anchorage Daily News, "Federal crackdown threatens businesses that manage money for hundreds of disabled Alaskans," 14 Nov. 2019 After leaving the practice facility early in the afternoon on off-days, Spellman would sequester himself in his room, leaving only to pick up his DoorDash order or make late-night trips to Waffle House. Connor Letourneau, SFChronicle.com, "How Omari Spellman ended ‘self-sabotage’ and turned new leaf with Warriors," 12 Nov. 2019 The wind is expected to pick up and be especially brisk on Tuesday, and a wind advisory may be needed by Tuesday morning, the weather service said. Leigh Morgan, al, "Rain? Snow? Wintry mix? Alabama could see all three," 11 Nov. 2019 Aldridge isn’t going to pick up Duncan’s omnipresent competitive fire via osmosis, as much as San Antonio would love him to do so. Mike Finger, ExpressNews.com, "Aldridge remains a mystery the Spurs don’t try to explain," 10 Nov. 2019 Just as Jackson crossed midfield to pick up the first down, Bengals cornerback Darqueze Dennard stepped up to meet him. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "The 'Heisman package’ is the Ravens’ newest wrinkle. Here’s how a two-QB triple option worked.," 10 Nov. 2019 People like König had to pick up the tab that night in 1989. Fox News, "Fall of the Berlin Wall: East Germans still seeking answers 30 years later," 10 Nov. 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

Time Traveler for pickup

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for pickup

Last Updated

11 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Pickup.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/picks%20up. Accessed 21 November 2019.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pickup


How to pronounce pick up (audio)

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).


strength of mind

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

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!