\ 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

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In Heath, which has a population of more than 10,000, five Licking County boats were pressed into service, plucking residents from homes surrounded by water overnight and early on Friday, Mr. Carey said. Christine Hauser, New York Times, "Heavy Rains Flood Parts of Ohio, Stranding Residents," 20 Mar. 2020 The face was the only place where hair was considered unsightly: 14th-century ladies would pluck the hair from their foreheads in order to push back their hairlines and give their faces a more oval appearance. Marianna Cerini, CNN, "Why women feel pressured to shave," 3 Mar. 2020 The sounds of underwater pile-driving elicit signs of both alarm and habituation in longfin squid, and the medium-term stress level of fish can be determined by plucking their scales and testing for cortisol. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's magazine, "Findings," 2 Mar. 2020 The Trick Stick is designed for precision techniques, like skipping tubes under docks or plucking slabs from brushpiles using a Garmin Livescope. The Editors, Field & Stream, "The Best Fishing Gear of 2020," 26 Feb. 2020 The Jammin’ House reverberates with the discordant sounds of budding musicians banging cymbals, shaking tambourines and plucking the strings of an upright bass. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "History marches on in New Orleans with these new attractions," 25 Feb. 2020 Liu riffs on all these questions, plucking at them like superstrings laced through the collection. Sarah Fallon, Wired, "Parenting After the Singularity in Ken Liu’s The Hidden Girl," 25 Feb. 2020 Its plastic-eating skills were discovered accidentally when an amateur beekeeper in Spain plucked some of the pests from her beehives and put them in a plastic bag. Katie Hunt, CNN, "These plastic-chomping caterpillars can help fight pollution," 4 Mar. 2020 The group worked quickly, plucking eyeglasses from displays and dropping them into large bags. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Chula Vista police say this group stole $100K worth of eyeglasses in less than two minutes," 7 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The oxpecker birds of Africa pluck ticks and other insects off large mammals—and then slurp blood from their hosts’ sores. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Why the World Needs Bloodsucking Creatures," 2 Dec. 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for pluck

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pluck

Last Updated

25 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pluck.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Mar. 2020.

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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

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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

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