\ 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 Then visitors pluck their candy prize, a pouch of strawberry Pop Rocks, from the butt of the whimsical farting creature. Phillip Valys,, "Candytopia: a wonderland of farting unicorn pigs, gummy Cardi B and a marshmallow swimming pool," 26 Nov. 2019 Almost on cue, a man in a beanie walked into the room and began plucking tapes like Elvira: Mistress of the Dark and The Mummy. Christopher Spat,, "GrindHouse Video in Tampa survives by selling cult movies so bad they’re good," 11 Nov. 2019 The accident plucked the children from their mother's warm Presbyterian household and sent them first to relatives in Montana and then to a blended family in Tillamook, Oregon, after their father remarried. The Oregonian/oregonlive Politics Team, oregonlive, "So who is Lars Larson, the conservative who named the suspected Trump whistleblower on Fox News?," 8 Nov. 2019 In one of his first personnel moves, Mulvaney plucked Grogan from his perch as Gilead’s head of federal affairs. Lev Facher, STAT, "How Joe Grogan, a former pharma lobbyist, upended Trump’s drug pricing agenda," 22 Oct. 2019 The chopper plucked those stranded on the second floor of a home submerged in muddy waters. Yuri Kageyama,, "Typhoon toll in Japan rises as dramatic rescues continue," 13 Oct. 2019 The chopper plucked those stranded on the second floor of a home submerged in muddy waters. Yuri Kageyama,, "Japan typhoon leaves at least 19 people dead, major flooding," 13 Oct. 2019 Three Ducks plucked on the final day of the MLB draft., "Would it be be best for the Beavers to go outside the program for a baseball coach? Diamonds & Dust," 6 June 2019 The ball was batted around before safety Verone McKinley plucked it out of the air while managing to get a foot down in the end zone. oregonlive, "Goe: Oregon Ducks use the Mario Cristobal formula to bludgeon Colorado, 45-3," 12 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 Alaska’s ravens and crows are shiny black pranksters that eviscerate garbage bags, pluck keys from snowmachines and swagger through parking lots like little feathered mobsters. Zaz Hollander, Anchorage Daily News, "'You dirty dog’: Rock-dropping birds break glass in a Kenai Peninsula parking lot," 28 Oct. 2019 Soprano Tasha Koontz and mezzo Kira Dills-DeSurra were enchanting fairy vocalists, and the women of the San Diego Master Chorale sang with pluck. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego Symphony and Rafael Payare make magic with Mozart, Mendelssohn and Shakespeare," 13 Oct. 2019 These three guitarists play music with a pluck-centric control and precision that, in its cumulative effect, is something like hearing a big harpsichord or a chamber ensemble. John Adamian,, "Best Bets: Seven concerts not to miss this week," 22 Sep. 2019 As Destiny, a new stripper who learns from Ramona, Constance Wu handles the heavy drama with pluck and skill. Hal Boedeker,, "‘Hustlers’: Jennifer Lopez does her best work," 14 Sep. 2019 Designer William Christmas Codman’s all-silver dressing table and stool made for the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris is a showpiece, as much a declaration of the company’s creative pluck as of the Gilded Age’s riches. Cate Mcquaid,, "With this glittering display of silver, a Providence rags-to-riches tale," 3 July 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

3 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Pluck.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 12 December 2019.

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).


a period of high artistic development

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Semantic Drift Quiz

  • a twisty river
  • Which of the following was once a synonym for fun?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Bee Cubed

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!