\ ˈplək How to pronounce pluck (audio) \
plucked; plucking; plucks

Definition of pluck

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to pull or pick off or out
2a : to remove something (such as hairs) from by or as if by plucking pluck one's eyebrows
b : rob, fleece
3 : to move, remove, or separate forcibly or abruptly plucked the child from the middle of the street
4a : to pick, pull, or grasp at
b : to play by sounding the strings with the fingers or a pick

intransitive verb

: to make a sharp pull or twitch



Definition of pluck (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : an act or instance of plucking or pulling
2 : the heart, liver, lungs, and trachea of a slaughtered animal especially as an item of food
3 : courageous readiness to fight or continue against odds : dogged resolution

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from pluck


plucker noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for pluck

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of pluck in a Sentence

Verb My sister plucked a white hair from my head. The hunter plucked the bird's feathers. plucking petals off a flower Firefighters plucked the child from the top floor of the burning building. He'd been plucked from obscurity and thrust into the national spotlight. a cat that was plucked off the city's streets last winter He plucked a stone out of the river. Noun It takes pluck to do what she did. She showed pluck in getting up on stage.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The Dallas Cowboys could go in a number of ways in their search for a new head coach — if and when that gets underway — the most appealing of which would arguably be to pluck a talented coordinator from a playoff team. John Owning, Dallas News, "4 coordinators in the NFL playoffs who the Cowboys should consider in their coaching search," 3 Jan. 2020 Navy ships were called in to pluck hundreds of people stranded on beaches. Author: Shonal Ganguly, Steve Mcmorran, Anchorage Daily News, "Thousands of Australians evacuate by road and sea as wildfire forecast intensifies," 3 Jan. 2020 Neither are even more sophisticated surgical interventions, like one where a catheter snakes up through an artery in the neck to pluck the clot out of the brain. Oliver Staley, Quartz Africa, "Zambia has 17 million people, a stroke epidemic, and no neurologists," 30 Dec. 2019 Astonished by the finger-length insects, children dash here and there, waving blankets or plucking at branches to shake the locusts free. Ben Curtis,, "‘This is huge’: Locust swarms in Africa are worst in decades," 25 Jan. 2020 YSL Beauty’s scientific director, Caroline Negre, explains that harvesters pluck the flowers during that brief window of time, and then botanists extract its antioxidant sugars using a slow cold-press method. Taylore Glynn, Marie Claire, "The Secret to Good Skin Grows in These Moroccan Gardens," 21 Jan. 2020 Here’s a list of our favorite starter guitars to get your little one plucking and strumming chords in no time. Popular Science, "Kid-friendly guitars for the aspiring young strummer," 21 Jan. 2020 Each week or so, Carol Becker strolls the aisles of a nearby grocery store, plucking items at the behest of her companion, a woman who at times must depend upon the kindness of others. Scott Craven, azcentral, "Phoenix nonprofit allows neighbor to assist neighbor, and donations to Season for Sharing help keep it going," 19 Jan. 2020 Crane, a former college pitcher who earned his fortune in shipping, plucked Luhnow from the St. Louis Cardinals, who had just won the World Series with many players Luhnow drafted as scouting director. Tyler Kepner, New York Times, "The Rise and Sudden Fall of the Houston Astros," 18 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That the Seahawks hung with the 49ers to the absolute end is a tribute to their pluck. Scott Ostler,, "49ers too legit to quit after nailbiting classic win at Seattle," 29 Dec. 2019 Sure enough, violinists wandered the aisles vigorously bowing and sending chiming plucks of assent toward the musicians who dotted the stage. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: SPCO cellists shine on a concert full of grand finales," 6 Dec. 2019 Both Steen, from Sweden, and Shen (Russia) displayed pluck and awareness while seeing narrower North American rinks for the first time., "With one date left in their exhibition schedule, the Bruins made their deepest round of roster cuts yet.," 27 Sep. 2019 Yet for all their pluck, the Twins were swept in three games of the AL Division Series by the New York Yankees, and haven’t won a playoff series since 1991. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "For playoff-ready A's, Twins and Rays, is it time to flex - and forget about flexibility?," 12 Dec. 2019 Likewise, Arizona’s Kliff Kingsbury led a team that showed pluck and resilience in fighting back from a huge deficit at home against the Lions, and that’s nothing to sneeze at either. Albert Breer,, "Mike Zimmer and the Vikings May Deserve More Hype This Season Than Last," 12 Sep. 2019 For the first 52 minutes and change, CU’s coaches had the better plan, the better pluck, despite inferior talent across the board. Sean Keeler, The Denver Post, "CU Buffs QB Steven Montez to fans: “The wheels don’t look like they’re falling off”," 26 Oct. 2019 Eckstein founded the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews in 1983, and through a combination of pluck, charisma and tireless legwork made unprecedented progress in raising money for Jewish causes from evangelicals. Jta Staff,, "Remembering inspiring Jews who died in 5779," 24 Sep. 2019 Sometimes Malta’s or Italy’s military vessels perform the rescues, and occasionally a fishing or cargo ship plucks survivors from the sea. Stephen Calleja And Frances D’emilio,, "Temporary deal reached by EU nations on handling of migrants," 23 Sep. 2019

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pluck


Middle English, from Old English pluccian; akin to Middle High German pflücken to pluck

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pluck

Time Traveler for pluck

Time Traveler

The first known use of pluck was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for pluck

Last Updated

12 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pluck.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for pluck


How to pronounce pluck (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of pluck

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to pull (something) quickly to remove it
: to remove some or all of the feathers or hairs from (something)
: to take (someone or something) away from a place or situation suddenly or by force



English Language Learners Definition of pluck (Entry 2 of 2)

old-fashioned + informal : a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult : courage and determination


\ ˈplək How to pronounce pluck (audio) \
plucked; plucking

Kids Definition of pluck

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to pull off : pick pluck grapes
2 : to remove something (as a hair or feather) with a quick pull
3 : to seize and remove quickly : snatch She … plucked the envelope from the mailbox …— Andrew Clements, Frindle
4 : to pull at (a string) and let go



Kids Definition of pluck (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : a sharp pull : tug
2 : courage, spirit There was a … streak of pluck in him.— Sid Fleischman, The Whipping Boy

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pluck

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pluck

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pluck

Spanish Central: Translation of pluck

Nglish: Translation of pluck for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pluck for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pluck

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
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!