\ˈplək \
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

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Other Words from pluck


plucker noun

Examples of pluck in a Sentence


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.


It takes pluck to do what she did. She showed pluck in getting up on stage.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Two students, whom Apple plucked from its annual software conference last month, showed off apps focused on accessibility and mental health awareness. Lauren Goode, WIRED, "Apple's MacBook Pros Get Faster Chips, New Keyboards (Kinda)," 12 July 2018 Ukoy, a softball-size fritter that looks like a freeze-frame photo of the exploding Death Star, is impossible to stop plucking apart. Jonathan Kauffman,, "Likha brings Michelin pedigrees to Filipino bar food," 5 July 2018 Read more: The marine unit and other Good Samaritan boaters in the area helped pluck the passengers from the lake. Detroit Free Press Staff, Detroit Free Press, "11 rescued after heavily overweight boat capsizes on Pine Lake," 5 July 2018 Grab a gallon to go, or sip some on the spot after spending an autumn day plucking apples of your own from the roughly 200-acre orchard. Lori Rackl,, "Bicentennial bucket list: 20 essential Illinois drinks," 29 June 2018 Nestled on 80 acres near Geist and surrounded on three sides by mature trees, the vineyard is a perfect place to relax and sip rose made with grapes plucked just feet away. John Tuohy, Indianapolis Star, "Concerts at winery strike sour note with neighbors in McCordsville," 22 June 2018 Today Kowalczyk is head of AWE’s artist-in-residence program, where artists plucked from specific neighborhoods collaborate with kids to help design and develop public art pieces. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Making art accessible to Milwaukee’s kids," 18 June 2018 Not after nepotism got him the job — his father, Jerry, took over the team in 2015, then plucked Bryan, twice a failure elsewhere, from the NBA scrap heap. Marcus Hayes,, "Could Bryan Colangelo have saved his job if he handled Twittergate differently, throwing his wife under the bus? | Marcus Hayes," 9 June 2018 No, 41 games plucked out of a single season isn’t reason for panic. Bryce Miller,, "Padres' nagging question: How do you jump-start Manny Margot?," 28 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

But the trend doesn’t pluck at the heartstrings of all. Meredith Goldstein,, "Wedding bells are ringing, but justices of the peace aren’t getting the call," 18 June 2018 While national Democratic organizations admire O’Rourke’s pluck, most appear disinclined to divert resources to Texas, and O’Rourke made a show of spurning one of his party’s top PAC donors, Tom Steyer. Andrew Rice, Daily Intelligencer, "Can a Democrat Ever Win in Texas?," 10 July 2018 Despite the odds and the incoming ordnance, the citizens of Vicksburg retained their pluck and defiance to the bitter end. Russell S. Bonds, WSJ, "‘Vicksburg’ Review: The Falling Tide of Gray," 20 June 2018 If Friedenberg begins the play with refreshing pluck and sass for a part usually played for woebegone submission, her Ophelia goes jarringly musical theater in her own scene of madness. Lily Janiak, San Francisco Chronicle, "Youth gives some new energy to Marin Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet,’ but not enough," 2 June 2018 And behind the scenes, some White House advisers applauded these lawmakers’ pluck. Philip Elliott, Time, "The House GOP Is in Chaos," 21 May 2018 Their helpers, village women in colorful head wraps, used the yard to scrub clothes and pluck chicken feathers. Hedia Anvar, Longreads, "How To Build An Intellectual," 23 June 2018 In Ocean's 8, the criminals pluck European jewels from their eternal resting place, disrupting the idea that everything within the Met is unmovable and sacred., "Pop Culture Is Breathing New Life Into Stuffy Museums," 18 June 2018 According to the Mayo Clinic, the best way to treat a jellyfish sting is to rinse the area with vinegar, pluck visible tentacles with fine tweezers and soak the skin in hot water ranging from 110 to 114 degrees Farenheit. Caitlin Keating,, "Over 800 People Stung by Jellyfish at Central Florida Beaches in Only Three Days," 13 June 2018

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.

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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

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Dictionary Entries near pluck





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Statistics for pluck

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pluck

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

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More Definitions for pluck



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)

: a quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult : courage and determination


\ˈplək \
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

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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).


playful or foolish behavior

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