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 The Chevrolet Colorado is the perfect vehicle for buyers looking for an inexpensive, highly useful pickup. Washington Post, "Edmunds: 4th of July deals less generous but still solid," 1 July 2020 The Ranger midsize pickup, a nameplate that was relaunched to much fanfare last year, is built at Ford's Michigan Assembly in Wayne, which is west of Detroit. Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press, "Cars.com says Ford Ranger beats Jeep Cherokee in American-Made Index," 23 June 2020 The Ranger midsize pickup, a nameplate that was relaunched to much fanfare last year, is built at Ford’s Michigan Assembly in Wayne, which is west of Detroit. Dallas News, "The most American-made vehicle is a throwback truck," 23 June 2020 The city estimates 150,000 to 300,000 additional workers will return to their jobs Monday, two weeks after reopening began with construction, curbside-pickup retail, wholesaling and manufacturing. Editors, USA TODAY, "Apple's WWDC, NASCAR, Disney World's resort hotels return: 5 things to know Tuesday," 22 June 2020 Mazda's next-gen BT-50 pickup, based on the Isuzu D-Max, was unveiled late this week in Australia. Maxwell B. Mortimer, Car and Driver, "Third-Gen Mazda BT-50 Pickup Has Mazda Good Looks on New Isuzu Platform," 20 June 2020 Stores deemed nonessential, like clothing, toys, jewelry, shoe and bookstores, have been eager to reopen their doors and no longer rely fully on curbside pickup or online sales, which not all small businesses have. Shwanika Narayan, SFChronicle.com, "San Francisco retailers begin allowing customers indoors, but shoppers are still sparse," 15 June 2020 The company highlighted its sale of the Lordstown plant to startup automaker Lordstown Motors, which plans to introduce its first electric-powered pickup, the Endurance, next week and begin production in the first quarter of next year. Desperation Town, ProPublica, "GM Closed the Lordstown Auto Plant. Now Ohio May Force a $60 Million Repayment.," 15 June 2020 That means expanding the number of stores with drive-thru or curbside service, and opening new pickup-only locations. cleveland, "Starbucks to close hundreds of stores as it leans into on-the-go model," 10 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective That lot has 1,500 spaces and two pickup locations. Michael Casagrande | Mcasagrande@al.com, al, "Why permits cost so much, the deal with boots and other Alabama parking FAQs," 30 July 2020 The shift comes at a time when more customers are turning to pickup options due to the pandemic. Sara Ashley O'brien, CNN, "Some Instacart shoppers are having their jobs cut during the pandemic," 30 July 2020 But pickup games of basketball will not be allowed. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Cleveland reopens recreation centers, but with new rules, restrictions meant to check spread of coronavirus," 6 July 2020 As a motivational speaker and a bit of a charlatan selling a pickup artist tutorial, Cruise rises to the occasion by certainly stealing scenes but sharing the load beautifully with an ensemble of gifted actors keen on exploring the human condition. Ben Flanagan | Bflanagan@al.com, al, "Celebrate Tom Cruise’s birthday with his 10 best movies," 3 July 2020 The library does offer pickup service for items users have put on hold. oregonlive, "Multnomah County Library permanently ends late fines, wipes away more than $700,000 owed by library users," 1 July 2020 And in fact, for pickup trucks—ie trucks that came from the factory with a load bed rather than some other configuration—the class 2b-class 3 rule only kicks in during 2027. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "California set to ban all heavy diesel trucks and vans by 2045," 26 June 2020 Social distancing measures will be in place, including a pickup window for food and drinks, Climaco said. oregonlive, "Oregon’s mobile piña colada king is opening a new cocktail bar in Northeast Portland," 25 June 2020 Ford has dominated pickup sales since the beginning of time. Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press, "Pickup truck love has America addicted, willing to sacrifice alcohol and coffee and ...," 22 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb For all the details on how Katy Perry is preparing for motherhood, her life with Orlando Bloom and the joy and hope behind her new album Smile, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday. Melody Chiu, PEOPLE.com, "Pregnant Katy Perry Jokes She'll Be the 'Cool Mom' from Mean Girls When Daughter Is a Teenager," 7 Aug. 2020 The city’s vetting process did not pick up potential red flags, The Dallas Morning News found. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "How Dallas missed potential red flags in picking a company to run a major COVID-19 testing site," 5 Aug. 2020 Activists say the involvement of WNBA stars such as Griner will help make sure the case isn’t overlooked. Taylor died in March, but the massive wave of Black Lives Matter demonstrations didn’t pick up until George Floyd died two months later. Greg Moore, The Arizona Republic, "Mercury star Brittney Griner is comfortable with sports world at center of cultural shift," 1 Aug. 2020 In contrast, adults between 35 and 44 are more inclined towards videoconferencing to connect with Mom, while those 45 and older will most likely pick up the phone. CBS News, "CBS News Eye on Trends: The latest from the Election & Survey Unit," 30 July 2020 Huesca has made a point of calling back at least three times if a patient doesn’t pick up. Brian Chasnoff, ExpressNews.com, "Metro Health ‘overwhelmed’ by COVID-19 surge," 30 June 2020 That’s not to say that people don’t pick up fly rods to go straight to the flats or to chase bluegills on a pond. Kirk Deeter, Field & Stream, "Top 10 Most Unappreciated Fish to Catch on a Fly," 29 June 2020 Cities can set a rider maximum per trip—informing drivers not to pick up any more than that set number—functionally enforcing social distancing on the rides. Doug Johnson, Wired, "Microtransit Gives City Agencies a Lift During the Pandemic," 20 June 2020 Cities can set a rider maximum per trip—informing drivers not to pick up any more than that set number—functionally enforcing social distancing on the rides. Doug Johnson/undark, Popular Science, "The pandemic has cities rethinking public transit," 17 June 2020

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

6 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pickup.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pickup. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Thing: Animal Edition

  • alt 5a023732e6f75
  • Name that animal:
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!