\ 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

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Other Words from pluck


plucker noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for pluck

Synonyms: Verb

beat, bilk, bleed, cheat, chisel, chouse, con, cozen, defraud, diddle, do, do in, euchre, fiddle, fleece, flimflam, gaff, gyp, hose [slang], hustle, mulct, nobble [British slang], ream, rip off, rook, screw, shake down, short, shortchange, skin, skunk, squeeze, stick, stiff, sting, sucker, swindle, thimblerig, victimize

Synonyms: Noun

draw, haul, jerk, pull, tug, wrench, yank

Antonyms: Noun


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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

The best coaches to come through it and get plucked away by schools in Power 5 conferences — Urban Meyer, P.J. Fleck and Matt Campbell, among others — made do with the limited resources available. Brandon Folsom, Detroit Free Press, "Jim McElwain trying to rebuild coaching legacy — and CMU football," 21 Aug. 2019 He's seen colleagues mutilated, their hands and arms cut, their eyes plucked out for failing to pay these armed groups their share. Vasco Cotovio, CNN, "A trail of 'bloody gold' leads to Venezuela's government," 20 Aug. 2019 Ellen Ilconich, who lives in Marleton, N.J., had a gull hover over her sandwich and pluck out the deli meat inside. Nick Corasaniti, New York Times, "Flying Assassins Are Called In to Combat Aggressive Gulls," 15 Aug. 2019 Teri Grendzinski reaches into a pen and plucks out a fluffy, pale gray chick. Anna Groves, Discover Magazine, "Inside the Heroic Mission to Save Thousands of Baby Flamingos," 11 Aug. 2019 In the glory days of Arsene Wenger's regime, the visionary Frenchman had a knack for plucking out and nurturing world class talent without breaking the bank - a chairman's dream., "Assessing Arsenal's Most Expensive Transfers Following the Signing of £72m Man Nicolas Pepe," 2 Aug. 2019 Sloane, bred to please men in every way, runs a seaside Rhode Island restaurant with her chef husband who plucks out people for his wife to sleep with, with or without him. Margaret Wappler, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘Three Women’ studies the real sex lives of women, casting light on obscured desire," 26 July 2019 But most aren’t equipped for outdoor survival and get their ears torn off by raccoons or plucked by eagles. Paige Cornwell, The Seattle Times, "Notice a bunny boom? Here are some reasons for the Seattle area’s recent rise in rabbits," 19 July 2019 No one plucked Phoebe Waller-Bridge from obscurity. Ew Staff,, "The TV It List: 10 storytellers revolutionizing the small screen," 12 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The villagers’ extraordinary pluck made headlines around the world. The Economist, "China says Hong Kong’s protesters have the mainland in their sights," 12 Sep. 2019 His mother, instead, plucks and offers a large grape from the vine. Erica Hellerstein, The Mercury News, "In Santa Cruz, a clandestine food bank draws hundreds of farmworkers," 24 Aug. 2019 One of the best places to look for leadership is in the explorers who have persisted through the most dire of situations—and there are few pioneers with more pluck than Sir Ernest Shackleton. Tim Jarvis, Quartz, "Ernest Shackleton’s story teaches us leadership—and also how to fight climate change," 23 Aug. 2019 Credit a unique combination of talent, pluck, luck, determination and the perpetually defiant sneers Richards and Jagger appear to have honed almost since birth. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Rolling Stones rocking on with Mick Jagger’s new heart valve, largely sober Keith Richards," 18 Aug. 2019 In a tiny space, chef Monta Rozenburga creates vegan favorites with pluck and precision worth taking to go for a picnic. Elizabeth Wellington, Vogue, "Plan a Summer Stay in Salesas, Madrid’s Smallest Neighborhood," 25 May 2019 The character’s biggest surge in popularity occurred around 2001; like Depression-era America delighted by the pluck of Mickey Mouse, SpongeBob brought laughter and lightness of heart into American households when they were needed most. Darryn King, Longreads, "The Young Man and the Sea Sponge," 13 Aug. 2019 And that pluck was also a precursor of things to come. Khadrice Rollins,, "Eight Things That Made Kevin Durant’s Rucker Park Mixtape Legendary," 2 Aug. 2019 Over delicate violin plucks and snaps, Michaelson makes the case for boldness. Time, "5 Songs You Need to Listen to This Weekend," 21 June 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.

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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

8 Oct 2019

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)

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on pluck

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pluck

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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