\ 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

Hummingbirds will also pluck insects directly off of flowers, shrubs and trees. Jessica Pollock, The Conversation, "Curious kids: Why don’t hummingbirds get fat or sick from drinking sugary nectar?," 23 Aug. 2019 Elderly volunteers, plucking weeds from a flower bed at the train station, wear pink vests that express their support for the Games. Los Angeles Times, "Can 2020 Summer Olympics help Fukushima rebound from nuclear disaster?," 12 Aug. 2019 Cruyff also plucked Ronald Koeman from his old Ajax team and added Hristo Stoichkov and Michael Laudrup., "Johan Cruyff: The Visionary Who Became the Most Important Man in the History of Football," 9 Aug. 2019 Thousands of children have served as little chicks through the years, most of them plucked randomly from the stands to participate. San Diego Union-Tribune, "San Diego Chicken feeling young again with return to Petco Park," 27 July 2019 In the meantime, Kentucky plucked some of the state's top talent from the city of Louisville. Cameron Teague Robinson, The Courier-Journal, "Josh Minkins Jr. symbolizes Louisville football's localized recruiting approach," 2 July 2019 One empty-handed straggler plucked a few roses from a bush on his way to greet his graduate. Rebecca Lurye,, "Danny Glover receives honorary degree at Goodwin College commencement; student speaker shares lesson from his years of addiction, homelessness," 8 June 2019 In one summer, another cousin plucked me from a mood, unfolded and draped my back across an anthill. Justin Phillip Reed, The New Republic, "This Is Really Happening," 6 June 2019 When the sales representative looked away briefly, Hubel plucked a 2-carat diamond worth $26,339 and a 4-carat diamond worth $132,722 while covering the box with his price sheet, police said. Paige Fry And Rosemary Sobol,, "How 2 diamonds worth nearly $160,000 were stolen in plain sight from Jewelers Row," 28 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Juana 's parents didn 't grumble about the work at the factory, where hundreds of workers lined up in rows to perform a task -- stun, slaughter, pluck feathers, clean, cut or debone. Author: Jenny Jarvie, Anchorage Daily News, "Mississippi raids split families and leave children adrift: ‘I just want my mom and dad’," 11 Aug. 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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Statistics for pluck

Last Updated

27 Aug 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 spread over or through

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