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

Hundreds of drivers plowed right through school zones, where the speed limit is 20 mph during drop-off and pickup times. Lois K. Solomon, sun-sentinel.com, "Hundreds of drivers race through school zones, and they’re paying for it," 15 Aug. 2019 Using mostly recreation department budget funds, the plan is to build Safety Town on top of two Veterans Memorial Park tennis courts, which are located near the parking lot and pavilion, providing easier access for student drop-off and pickup. John Benson, cleveland.com, "Brooklyn plans to build $50,000 Safety Town at Veterans Memorial Park," 15 Aug. 2019 For example, Los Angeles International Airport charges ride-hailing companies $4 per drop-off or pickup. Samantha Masunagastaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Uber plans to stop going to Ontario airport," 12 Aug. 2019 There will be bicycle parking and taxi and ride-share drop-off and pickup at Lake Park High School’s east campus, 600 Medinah Road, a half-mile walk from Gate 2. Joel Boyd, chicagotribune.com, "The BMW Championship at Medinah Country Club: What’s the schedule, how to get tickets — and will Tiger Woods play?," 12 Aug. 2019 Countless billions of dollars will be earned or lost depending on how the new pickups and EVs fare. Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press, "Pickups, electric vehicles in fierce competition for year’s best vehicles," 10 Aug. 2019 Coborn’s customers outside the Twin Cities will still be able to use pickup and home delivery services provided by their local stores, including the Hastings store in the east metro. Jasmine Johnson, Twin Cities, "Coborn’s moving Twin Cities home grocery delivery to Cub Foods," 8 Aug. 2019 After acquiring Favor last year, H-E-B beefed up its tech hires and is working to expand curbside pickup and grocery delivery services to 200 of its 400 stores by year’s end. Madison Iszler, ExpressNews.com, "H-E-B to hire 500 employees, build new San Antonio tech center," 7 Aug. 2019 The repair project included a new roundabout, parking lot, drop-off and pickup zones and landscaping changes to enhance the ocean view, park officials said. USA TODAY, "Leaping frogs, spiny lobsters, hostile roosters: News from around our 50 states," 26 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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 Twenty-year-old Cody Legebokoff, whose pickup truck was first pulled over on that routine stop, was now a suspect in the murder of Loren Leslie. Peter Van Sant, CBS News, ""48 Hours" explores the mysteries and murders along the "highway of tears"," 29 May 2019 Reminders from the city regarding trash pickup: • Recyclable and rubbish materials will be picked up on the same day each week, except when a holiday falls on or before the regular pickup day. Linda Gandee/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "Westlake residents to receive new trash, recyclable carts," 16 July 2019 Oregon State Police said Eric Santos, 18, was a passenger in a Saturn Ion that collided with a Ford F250 pickup truck on Highway 211 in Clackamas County. oregonlive.com, "18-year-old man dies in Clackamas County crash Thursday," 11 July 2019 Carts need to be at the curb by 7 a.m. on pickup day, according to the SWDA. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al.com, "53,000 new recycling carts being delivered across Madison County; How to recycle your old blue bin," 10 July 2019 In Tennessee, beverage companies agreed to pay a small tax in order to fund litter pickup efforts, education programs and handouts promoting recycling. Michael Corkery, New York Times, "Beverage Companies Embrace Recycling, Until It Costs Them," 4 July 2019 Just before dusk, the first pickup trucks roll past the checkpoint and array themselves across the desert on the outskirts of Agadez, Niger. Robert Draper, National Geographic, "Surrounded by chaos, Niger is a nation on the edge," 17 June 2019 The company wants to focus mainly on its commercial van and pickup truck businesses on the continent, where Ford made a pretax loss of $398 million last year. Keith Naughton, Fortune, "Ford Will Shutter U.K. Engine Plant, Extending String of Closures Across Europe," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Indebted to a big-time drug lord, a pot dealer travels to Mexico with a fake family and a camper to pick up a large shipment and smuggle it into the U.S. (R) 1 hr. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 My dad could have stopped there to pick up Coca-Cola 12-packs for his business in Juárez. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "Going home to report on a mass shooting was the hardest assignment I've ever had," 10 Aug. 2019 During a break between two listening sessions, Arbulu and Heywood were standing outside the school while parents were picking up their children, Heywood told investigators. Paul Egan, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan civil rights director urged worker to 'check out her ass'," 9 Aug. 2019 Immigration enforcement authorities raided food processing plants across Mississippi on Wednesday, picking up 680 workers in what was being billed as the biggest single-day, one-state sweep in U.S. history, officials said. NBC News, "ICE raids sweep up 680 undocumented immigrants across Mississippi," 7 Aug. 2019 Delta, for example, has an app that delivers real-time updates when your luggage is picked up, when your flight is boarding and when your luggage gets loaded onto the baggage carousel – eliminating a lot of stress on your travel day. Natalie B. Compton, Twin Cities, "Checking a bag vs. carrying on is the great debate of airline travel," 7 Aug. 2019 Stoumen, then twenty-two, set out for eight years of apprenticeships with winemakers around the world, even picking up a masters in Enology and Viticulture from UC Davis along the way. Lizzie Noonan, Bon Appétit, "How Natural Winemaker Martha Stoumen Turns Work Into Highly Drinkable Play," 6 Aug. 2019 To avoid a rush at the pharmacy, Capitol Wellness Solutions scheduled appointments for patients to pick up the liquid tinctures that will be the first medical marijuana product available — bottles that come with a dropper for patients to use. Melinda Deslatte, BostonGlobe.com, "Louisiana launching medical marijuana after years of waiting," 6 Aug. 2019 Anchado dropped her 5-year-old daughter off at cheerleading practice before heading to Walmart to pick up school supplies with her husband, Andre. CBS News, "El Paso mass shooting: What we know about the victims," 5 Aug. 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

19 Aug 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).


to shake or wave menacingly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!