picks; picked; picking
picks; picked; picking
Learner's definition of PICK
1 : to choose or select (someone or something) from a group
Pick a card—any card.
They picked a name out of a hat.
The winners will be picked by lottery.
She was picked to replace the retiring CEO.
Who do you think he will pick as/for his running mate?
He picked the blue tie to wear to the interview.
He picked the right/wrong answer.
They both picked New York to win the World Series. [=they both said that they thought the New York team would win the World Series]
2 : to remove (a fruit, flower, etc.) from a plant especially by using your hand
She picked a flower for her mother.
I picked some carrots and a few tomatoes.
They sell freshly picked fruits and vegetables.
Our grapes are picked by hand.
3 a : to remove unwanted material from (something) by using your finger, a small tool, etc.
b always followed by an adverb or preposition : to remove (something) from something by using your fingers
It's considered impolite to pick your nose in public.
He was sitting at the table, picking his teeth with a toothpick.
4 chiefly US : to play (a guitar, banjo, etc.) by pulling the strings with your fingers or with a pick : pluck
pick a fight/quarrel
: to deliberately start a fight with someone
pick a lock
: to open a lock by using something that is not the key
pick and choose
: to choose only the best or most appropriate things or people
As one of Hollywood's most successful actors, he's now in a position to carefully pick and choose his roles.
The newspaper picks and chooses which stories to report.
With so many candidates, we can afford to pick and choose. [=we can afford to take our time and only choose the best candidate]
pick apart[phrasal verb]
pick (someone or something) apartchiefly US or pick apart (someone or something)
: to say all of the things that are bad or wrong about (someone or something) : to criticize (a person or thing) in a very detailed and usually unkind way
pick at[phrasal verb]
pick at (something)
1 a : to eat small amounts of (food) very slowly usually because you do not want to eat b : to pull on (something) with your fingertips or your fingernails often because you are nervous 2 pick at (someone or something) : to criticize (someone or something) especially for small mistakes
pick off[phrasal verb]
1 pick off (someone or something) or pick (someone or something) off : to aim at and shoot (someone or something) 2 pick off (someone)baseball or pick (someone) off : to cause (a player who is standing close to a base) to be tagged out by making a quick throw
pick on[phrasal verb]
pick on (someone)
1 : to laugh at or make fun of (someone) in an unkind way
Kids used to pick on me for wearing old worn-out clothes.
He used to get picked on by the other kids at the bus stop.
Why is she always picking on me?
Hey, why don't you pick on someone your own size?
2 : to unfairly criticize (one person or group) when others also deserve to be criticized
pick out[phrasal verb]
pick (something) out or pick out (something)
1 a : to choose or select (the best or most appropriate person or thing) from a group
b : to play (a song, melody, etc.) by playing each note separately
It took him an hour to pick out [=pick] what to wear.
They let their two-year-old daughter pick out her own clothes.
I've picked out the perfect spot for our picnic.
picking out a gift for a friend
2 pick (someone or something) out or pick out (someone or something) : to see and identify (someone or something)
His red hair makes it easy to pick him out of/in a crowd.
The police had a witness pick the suspect out of a lineup.
I could pick out the pattern against the background.
No one was able to pick out the originals from the copies.
pick over[phrasal verb]
pick over (something) or pick (something) over
: to look at (a group of objects or an amount of material) in order to choose the best ones or to remove pieces you do not want
They picked over the strawberries and threw away the green ones.
Pick over the fish to remove any bones.
The applications were thoroughly picked over and only the best applicants were given interviews.
pick pocketsorpick someone's pocket
: to steal money or objects from someone's pockets or purse
pick (someone or something) to pieces/shreds
: to study and criticize all of the parts of (someone or something)
pick someone's brain/brains
pick (something) clean
: to remove all the material that covers something
pick up[phrasal verb]
pick (someone or something) up or pick up (someone or something)
1 a : to lift (someone or something) from the ground or a low surface
b : to go somewhere in order to get and bring back (someone or something)
Would you pick that pencil up for me, please?
She picked the book up off/from the ground by its cover.
He bent to pick up his hat.
Pick up the ball!
They picked up their guitars and started to play.
She always picks up her baby when he cries.
c : to let or put (people or things) into or onto a car, bus, ship, etc.
I have to pick up my kids at school. = I have to pick them up from school.
Have you picked up the car from the repair shop yet?
He picked up his dry cleaning.
They'll hold our tickets but we have to pick them up an hour before the show.
She had a taxi pick her up at the airport and take her to the hotel.
Have you ever picked up a hitchhiker?
The ship will be picking up more cargo at the next port.
2 a pick upchiefly US or pick (something) up or pick up (something) : to make an area clean and organized by removing trash and putting things in the proper places
b pick up after (someone) : to clean the mess created by (someone)
We have just enough time to pick up [=clean up] and wash our hands before dinner.
The children worked together to pick up the toys.
Pick up that mess!
You may go outside after you pick your room up.
Everyone needs to help pick up the kitchen after dinner.
We spent the morning picking up the yard after the storm.
3 : to answer a telephone
I called your house, but no one picked up.
She got to the phone just before the answering machine picked up.
4 : to become busy usually after a period of little activity : to improve or increase in activity
Sales slowed down after the winter holidays, but we're expecting things to pick up again this summer.
Business really picked up last month.
The economy/market seems to be picking up.
5 a : to increase in speed or strength
b pick up speed/momentum (etc.) : to begin to have more speed/momentum (etc.)
The wind will pick up later this afternoon.
The movie starts out slowly, but the pace picks up when the two main characters meet for the first time.
c pick up the pace : to go faster
The cyclists quickly picked up speed [=gained speed; began to go faster] as they headed down the mountain.
His campaign has begun to pick up momentum.
The idea began to pick up steam [=become more popular] around the turn of the century.
6 a : to begin again after a temporary stop
b pick (something) up or pick up (something) : to start (something) again after a temporary stop
The discussion picked up this morning at the point where we had stopped yesterday.
After being separated for three years, they picked up (right) where they left off.
pick (something) up or pick up (something)
7 a : to buy or get (something)
b : to earn or gain (something)
Have you picked up a copy of her new CD yet?
On Tuesdays, he picks up dinner at our favorite restaurant and brings it home.
She stopped to pick up a few groceries at the supermarket.
c : to become aware of (something, such as a story) and begin to write about it, work on it, etc. d : to learn (something) usually in an informal way
She'll likely pick up an award for her performance in the film.
The team picked up [=gained] a few yards on the last play.
They've finally picked up their first victory of the season.
e : to become sick with (an illness) from someone or something f : to be able to see, hear, or smell (something)
I picked up a few French phrases on my trip to Paris.
He seems to pick foreign languages up very easily.
She uses a style of singing she picked up from listening to jazz music.
He's been picking up some bad habits from his friends.
: to become aware of (something)
This radio lets me pick up stations from other countries.
The planes were picked up [=detected] by radar.
telescopes picking up the faint glow of distant stars
The dogs picked up the scent and started to bark.
pick (someone) up or pick up (someone)
8 a : to meet and begin a usually brief sexual relationship with (someone) b of the police : to use the power of the law to take and keep (someone, such as a criminal)
c : to make (someone) feel more energetic and lively d sports : to get (a player) from another team or from some other source e sports : to begin to guard (a player from the opposite team) during a game
The cops picked up the suspect at a local bar.
The police picked him up [=arrested him] for trespassing/robbery/murder.
The police picked him up for questioning. [=they brought him to the police station in order to ask him questions]
pick yourself up
9 a : to stand up again after falling b : to recover from a difficult situation 10 pick up and leave/go : to leave suddenly with your possessions 11 pick up the tab/bill/check : to pay the money that is owed for something
When she stays at expensive hotels during business trips, her company picks up the tab.
They always offer to pick up the check when we go out to dinner with them.
12 pick up the pieces : to try to make a situation better after something bad has happened
After her business went bankrupt, she picked up the pieces and started again.
They created the problem, and now they expect us to pick up the pieces.
pick up on[phrasal verb]
pick up on (something)
1 a : to notice or become aware of (something)
b : to take (something, such as an idea) from another person or group and use it or continue to develop it yourself
He didn't pick up on the hint.
I seemed to be the only one who picked up on the mistake.
The reader soon picks up on the fact that the story's main character is crazy.
She was nervous, but no one picked up on it.
c : to continue talking about (a statement, subject, etc.)
The media has recently begun to pick up on this issue.
The fashion world picked up on this trend after she wore that dress to the award show.
The other students quickly picked up on [=adopted] the expression.
2 pick up (someone) on (something)British or pick (someone) up on (something) : to question (someone) about (something said or done)
I'd like to pick up the last speaker on one of the points she made.
When he said that whales were fish, I felt I had to pick him up on it. [=to challenge him on it]
pick your way
always followed by an adverb or preposition
: to walk very slowly while carefully choosing where to put your feet
Learner's definition of PICK
1 [singular] : the ability to choose the person or thing that you want
If you get there early enough, you'll have your pick of seats.
All of these restaurants are good. Take your pick. [=choose any of them]
The girls got to choose their partners, and she got (the) first pick. [=she was able to choose her partner first]
2 [count] : someone or something that is chosen — usually singular
Who is your pick to win? [=who do you think will win?]
The team made him the second pick [=the second person who was chosen] in the 1998 draft.
She was their number one pick. = She was their first pick. [=she was the person they wanted most]
Here is our top pick for this year's wine list.
3 [singular] : the best part of something or the best thing or things in a group — used in the phrase the pick of
It was surely the pick of this year's films. [=it was the best film this year]
I read many books this summer, and that was the pick of the bunch. [=the best of the bunch/group]
There are many good cars on the market now, but this one is clearly the pick of the litter. [=the best one]
Learner's definition of PICK
1 : a large tool that has a long handle and a heavy metal bar that is pointed at one or both ends and that is used for breaking rocks or digging in hard ground 2 : a small, thin piece of plastic or metal that is used to play a guitar or similar instrument
— called also plectrum