pluck

1 of 2

verb

plucked; plucking; plucks

transitive verb

1
: to pull or pick off or out
2
a
: 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
4
a
: 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
plucker noun

pluck

2 of 2

noun

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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Driving it, there’s no rearward visibility, thanks to the snorkel plucked from the STO, so reversing requires camera reliance and a prayer. Sean Evans, Robb Report, 1 Apr. 2024 Last night, the duo attended the issue launch in coordinating midis, which had been plucked from the Erdem’s pre-fall 2024 tribute to Maria Callas. Daniel Rodgers, Vogue, 28 Mar. 2024 My father and stepfather were plucked from the innocent transition into adulthood, long before Ted became an assembly line worker for Ford Motor Co. and dad was hired as a carpenter and fix-it man for the U.S. Postal Service in Des Moines, Iowa. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 23 Mar. 2024 In the absence of chopsticks, the pieces seamlessly assume finger-food status, easily plucked by hand. Li Goldstein, Bon Appétit, 23 Mar. 2024 While traveling the world to promote the film, the actress wore countless outfits that were either recreations of Barbie doll outfits or outfits that looked like they were plucked right out of Barbieland. Hedy Phillips, Peoplemag, 8 Mar. 2024 The fillet arrived hot and fresh, showing no signs of oil even though it was clearly plucked from the fryer just seconds earlier. Tim Carman, Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2024 To make matters even worse, after all the work Orion had performed for King O, his royal heinous had his henchmen pluck out Orion’s eyes and then plunked him down on a remote beach on the other side of the island. Mike Lynch, Twin Cities, 25 Feb. 2024 Benjamin Moore Vivid Peach (025) Kara Miller plucked this juicy hue to make the pantry doors of her family's Jupiter, Florida, townhouse pop. Grace Haynes, Southern Living, 20 Mar. 2024
Noun
The song begins slowly as the violinist, cellist and pianist pluck strings from their instruments to create a sense of uncertainty. Kyle Melnick, Washington Post, 18 Dec. 2023 Yet the myth has endured and Perry’s successor, Greg Abbott, has not only picked up that break-away pluck in recent weeks, he’s escalated it to the point of belligerence. TIME, 1 Feb. 2024 Jacob-Perkins cut razor-sharp lines with her cello over scrubby brushstrokes of strings, hard plucks of harp and tensely bowed xylophone bars. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 11 Jan. 2024 Backed by only a bassline and the live finger plucks of violin strings, Sada starts out unusually timid. Pitchfork, 11 Dec. 2023 The pluck creates a wave pulse that travels down the rubber band and reflects off the ends, where your fingers are. Rhett Allain, WIRED, 15 Dec. 2023 In the short prelude, light yet pungent pizzicato plucks — amid brooding low strings and an elegiac solo violin — movingly evoke Jesus’s mother’s tears without feeling too obvious. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, 23 Nov. 2023 Silkroad’s take makes every texture tangible and immediate, the voices of Giddens and violinist Mazz Swift trading off within a swirl of textures — the pluck of Wu Man’s pipa, the grain of Kojiro Umezaki’s shakuhachi flute, the timbral chorus of Haruka Fujii’s marimba, caxixi and djembe. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 3 Nov. 2023 The film is drawn from the first part of Journey to the West, detailing the origin story of the title character, a powerful creature hatched out of a magical rock (voiced with lots of pluck by comedian Jimmy O. Yang). David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 Aug. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pluck.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

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

First Known Use

Verb

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

Noun

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near pluck

Cite this Entry

“Pluck.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pluck. Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

pluck

1 of 2 verb
1
a
: to pull or pick off or out
pluck a flower
b
: to remove something (as feathers) from by or as if by plucking
pluck a chicken
2
: to move or separate forcibly : snatch
plucked the child from danger
3
: to play by pulling the strings
pluck a guitar
plucker noun

pluck

2 of 2 noun
1
: a sharp pull : tug
2

More from Merriam-Webster on pluck

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!