from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To select from a group: The best swimmer was picked.
  • transitive v. To select or cull.
  • transitive v. To gather in; harvest: They were picking cotton.
  • transitive v. To gather the harvest from: picked the field in one day.
  • transitive v. To remove the outer covering of; pluck: pick a chicken clean of feathers.
  • transitive v. To tear off bit by bit: pick meat from the bones.
  • transitive v. To remove extraneous matter from (the teeth).
  • transitive v. To poke and pull at (something) with the fingers.
  • transitive v. To break up, separate, or detach by means of a sharp pointed instrument.
  • transitive v. To pierce or make (a hole) with a sharp pointed instrument.
  • transitive v. To take up (food) with the beak; peck: The parrot picked its seed.
  • transitive v. To steal the contents of: My pocket was picked.
  • transitive v. To open (a lock) without the use of a key.
  • transitive v. To provoke: pick a fight.
  • transitive v. Music To pluck (an instrument's strings).
  • transitive v. Music To play (an instrument) by plucking its strings.
  • transitive v. Music To play (a tune) in this manner: picked a melody out on the guitar.
  • intransitive v. To decide with care or forethought.
  • intransitive v. To work with a pick.
  • intransitive v. To find fault or make petty criticisms; carp: He's always picking about something.
  • intransitive v. To be harvested or gathered: The ripe apples picked easily.
  • n. The act of picking, especially with a sharp pointed instrument.
  • n. The act of selecting or choosing; choice: got first pick of the desserts.
  • n. Something selected as the most desirable; the best or choicest part: the pick of the crop.
  • n. The amount or quantity of a crop that is picked by hand.
  • n. Basketball A screen.
  • pick apart To refute or find flaws in by close examination: The lawyer picked the testimony apart.
  • pick at To pluck or pull at, especially with the fingers.
  • pick at To eat sparingly or without appetite: The child just picked at the food.
  • pick at Informal To nag: Don't pick at me.
  • pick off To shoot after singling out: The hunter picked the ducks off one by one.
  • pick off Baseball To catch (a base runner) off base and put out with a quick throw, as from the pitcher or catcher, often to a specified base.
  • pick off Sports To intercept, as a football pass.
  • pick on To tease or bully.
  • pick out To choose or select: picked out a nice watch.
  • pick out To discern from the surroundings; distinguish: picked out their cousins from the crowd.
  • pick over To sort out or examine item by item: picked over the grapes before buying them.
  • pick up To take up (something) by hand: pick up a book.
  • pick up To collect or gather: picked up some pebbles.
  • pick up To tidy up: picked up the bedroom.
  • pick up To take on (passengers or freight, for example): The bus picks up commuters at five stops.
  • pick up To acquire casually or by accident: picked up a new coat on sale.
  • pick up To acquire (knowledge) by learning or experience: picked up French quickly.
  • pick up To claim: picked up her car at the repair shop.
  • pick up To buy: picked up some milk at the store.
  • pick up To accept (a bill or charge) in order to pay it: Let me pick up the tab.
  • pick up To come down with (a disease): picked up a virus at school.
  • pick up To gain: picked up five yards on that play.
  • pick up Informal To take into custody: The agents picked up six smugglers.
  • pick up Slang To make casual acquaintance with, usually in anticipation of sexual relations.
  • pick up To come upon and follow: The dog picked up the scent.
  • pick up To come upon and observe: picked up two submarines on sonar.
  • pick up To continue after a break: Let's pick up the discussion after lunch.
  • pick up Informal To improve in condition or activity: Sales picked up last fall.
  • pick up Slang To prepare a sudden departure: She just picked up and left.
  • idiom pick and choose To select with great care.
  • idiom pick holes in To seek and discover flaws or a flaw in: picked holes in the argument.
  • idiom pick (one's) way To find passage and make careful progress through it: picked her way down the slope.
  • idiom pick (someone) to pieces To criticize sharply.
  • idiom pick up on Informal To take into the mind and understand, typically with speed: is quick to pick up on new computer skills.
  • idiom pick up on Informal To notice: picked up on my roommate's bad mood and left him alone.
  • n. A tool for breaking hard surfaces, consisting of a curved bar sharpened at both ends and fitted to a long handle.
  • n. Something, such as an ice pick, toothpick, or picklock, used for picking.
  • n. A long-toothed comb, usually designed for use on curly hair.
  • n. A pointed projection on the front of the blade of a figure skate.
  • n. Music A plectrum.
  • n. A weft thread in weaving.
  • n. A passage or throw of the shuttle in a loom.
  • transitive v. To throw (a shuttle) across a loom.
  • transitive v. Archaic To cast; pitch.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A tool used for digging; a pickaxe.
  • n. A tool for unlocking a lock without the original key; a lock pick, picklock.
  • n. A comb with long widely spaced teeth, for use with tightly curled hair.
  • n. A choice.
  • n. A screen
  • n. An offensive tactic in which a player stands so as to block a defender from reaching a teammate.
  • n. An interception.
  • n. A good defensive play by an infielder
  • n. Short for pick-off
  • n. A tool used for strumming the strings of a guitar; a plectrum.
  • v. To grasp and pull with the fingers or fingernails.
  • v. To harvest a fruit or vegetable for consumption by removing it from the plant to which it is attached; to harvest an entire plant by removing it from the ground.
  • v. To decide between options.
  • v. To recognise the type of ball being bowled by a bowler by studying the position of the hand and arm as the ball is released.
  • v. To pluck the individual strings of a musical instrument or to play such an instrument.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A sharp-pointed tool for picking; -- often used in composition
  • n. A heavy iron tool, curved and sometimes pointed at both ends, wielded by means of a wooden handle inserted in the middle, -- used for digging ino the ground by quarrymen, roadmakers, etc.; also, a pointed hammer used for dressing millstones.
  • n. A pike or spike; the sharp point fixed in the center of a buckler.
  • n. Choice; right of selection.
  • n. That which would be picked or chosen first; the best.
  • n. A particle of ink or paper imbedded in the hollow of a letter, filling up its face, and occasioning a spot on a printed sheet.
  • n. That which is picked in, as with a pointed pencil, to correct an unevenness in a picture.
  • n. The blow which drives the shuttle, -- the rate of speed of a loom being reckoned as so many picks per minute
  • intransitive v. To eat slowly, sparingly, or by morsels; to nibble.
  • intransitive v. To do anything nicely or carefully, or by attending to small things; to select something with care.
  • intransitive v. To steal; to pilfer.
  • transitive v. To throw; to pitch.
  • transitive v. To peck at, as a bird with its beak; to strike at with anything pointed; to act upon with a pointed instrument; to pierce; to prick, as with a pin.
  • transitive v. To separate or open by means of a sharp point or points
  • transitive v. To open (a lock) as by a wire.
  • transitive v. To pull apart or away, especially with the fingers; to pluck; to gather, as fruit from a tree, flowers from the stalk, feathers from a fowl, etc.
  • transitive v. To remove something from with a pointed instrument, with the fingers, or with the teeth
  • transitive v. To choose; to select; to separate as choice or desirable; to cull; ; -- often with out.
  • transitive v. To take up; esp., to gather from here and there; to collect; to bring together; ; -- often with up
  • transitive v. To trim.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To prick or pierce with some pointed instrument; strike with some pointed instrument; peck or peck at, as a bird with its bill; form with repeated strokes of something pointed; punch: as, to pick a millstone; to pick a thing full of holes; to pick a hole in something.
  • To open with a pointed instrument: said of a lock.
  • To remove clinging particles from, either by means of a pointed instrument, by plucking with the thumb and finger, or by stripping with the teeth: as, to pick one's teeth; to pick a thread from one's coat; to pick a bone.
  • To pluck; gather; break off; collect, as fruit or flowers growing: as, to pick strawberries.
  • To pluck with the fingers, as the strings of a guitar or banjo; play with the fingers; twitch; twang.
  • To filch or pilfer from; steal or snatch thievishly the contents of: as, to pick a pocket or a purse.
  • 7. To separate and arrange in order, as a bird its feathers; preen; trim.
  • To separate; pull apart or loosen, as hair, fibers, etc.; pull to pieces; shred: sometimes with up: as, to pick horsehair; to pick oakum; to pick up codfish (in cookery).
  • To separate and select out of a number or quantity; choose or cull carefully or nicely: often with out: as, to pick (or pick out) the best.
  • To seek out by ingenuity or device; find out; discover.
  • To mark as with spots of color or other applications of ornament.
  • To take or get casually; obtain or procure as opportunity offers; acquire by chance or occasional opportunity; gather here and there, little by little, or bit by bit: as, to pick up a rare copy of Homer; to pick up information; to pick up acquaintance; to pick up a language or a livelihood.
  • To take (a person found or overtaken) into a vehicle or a vessel, or into one's company: as, to pick up a tired traveler; to pick up a shipwrecked crew.
  • See def. 8.
  • To strike with a pointed instrument; peck.
  • To take up morsels of food and eat them slowly; nibble.
  • To steal; pilfer.
  • To pitch; throw.
  • An obsolete form of peak.
  • n. A pointed instrument of various kinds.
  • n. A fork.
  • n. A four-tined eel-spear with a long handle.
  • n. A pike or spike; the sharp point fixed in the center of a buckler.
  • n. The diamond on a playing-card: so called from the point.
  • n. An instrument for picking a lock; a pick-lock.
  • n. The bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica: from its habit of probing for food. Also prine.
  • n. In weaving, the blow which drives the shuttle. It is delivered upon the end of the shuttle by the picker-head at the extremity of the picker-staff. The rate of a loom is said to be so many picks per minute.
  • n. In painting, that which is picked in, either with a point or with a pointed pencil.
  • n. In the harvesting of hops, cotton, coffee, berries, etc., in which the work is usually done by hand-picking, the quantity of the article which is picked or gathered, or which can be gathered or picked, in a specified time: as, the daily pick; the pick of last year.
  • n. In printing, foul matter which collects on printing-types from the rollers or from the paper impressed; also, a bit of metal improperly attached to the face of stereotype or electrotype plates, which has to be removed by the finisher.
  • n. The right of selection; first choice; hence, the choicest; the most desirable specimens or examples.
  • n. A dialectal form of pitch.
  • n. A pike or pickerel.
  • n. One weft-thread in a piece of cloth.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. provoke
  • n. the act of choosing or selecting
  • n. a thin sharp implement used for removing unwanted material
  • v. eat intermittently; take small bites of
  • n. a heavy iron tool with a wooden handle and a curved head that is pointed on both ends
  • v. attack with or as if with a pickaxe of ice or rocky ground, for example
  • n. the yarn woven across the warp yarn in weaving
  • v. select carefully from a group
  • v. pay for something
  • v. pull lightly but sharply with a plucking motion
  • v. harass with constant criticism
  • n. the quantity of a crop that is harvested
  • n. a basketball maneuver; obstructing an opponent with one's body
  • n. the best people or things in a group
  • v. look for and gather
  • n. the person or thing chosen or selected
  • v. remove in small bits
  • v. hit lightly with a picking motion
  • n. a small thin device (of metal or plastic or ivory) used to pluck a stringed instrument
  • v. pilfer or rob
  • v. remove unwanted substances from, such as feathers or pits


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English piken, to prick, from Old English *pīcian, to prick, and from Old French piquer, to pierce (from Vulgar Latin *piccāre; see pique).
Middle English pik, variant of pike, sharp point; see pike5.
Dialectal, from pick, to pitch, thrust, variant of pitch2.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English picken, pikken, from Old English *pīcian, pȳcan ("to pick, prick, pluck"), from Proto-Germanic *pikōnan, *pūkijanan (“to pick, peck, prick, knock”), from Proto-Indo-European *beu-, *bu- (“to make a dull, hollow sound”). Cognate with Dutch pikken ("to pick"), German picken ("to pick, peck"), Icelandic pikka ("to pick, prick").


  • Oh, the night before last night i found out that one of my friends had an eating disorder .. like she has this stupid class and she had to make one of those little origami game things. .you know…. the square thing where you pick squares and move your fingers and then you get to peel up the one you pick…

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  • If I am not mistaken (and as things turned out I am sure I was right) the words were: _Gather gather, pick pick_, or _quick quick_.

    The Five Jars

  • I hate cold weather but love football and basketball given that mo williams runs the pick & roll quite effectively, i actually expect to see the cavs run it more than less. this is not necessarily a bad thing - i liken the pick and roll to the ruy lopez opening in chess - not particularly subtle, but any thing less than perfect defense usually leads to an advantage for the offense. case in point, the celtics usually ran the pick and roll - often more than once per possession by multiple players against the lakers - who never did figure out how to stop it. imagine lebron starting the pick and roll - and when the lane is packed, passing out to williams at the top of the key and then setting the * pick* on the pick and roll, visualize the mismatch when the smaller defender tries to cover lebron cutting to the basket. finally, if someone can either get pavlovic's dad in cleveland for the season or get sasha married off (windhorst has noted that sasha playes better when he has family in town - and papa pavlovic was a european star), have pavlovic run the pick and roll; my take is that he prefers to shoot the 3 off the dribble vs. spotting up. and we still have wally and gibson spotting up from the outside. the pick and roll forces the opponent to play good team defense while allowing offensive players to take a breather - especially on our team, any single player dogging it on defense leads to a team breakdown. so my take is that hopefully mo will run the pick and roll which will give lebron a breather on various offensive possessions.


  • That said, I think the Palin pick is odd because she has basically no experience or credentials to hold national executive office.

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  • That said, I think the Palin pick is odd because she has basically no experience or credentials to hold national executive office

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  • CT: I also think the Palin pick is insulting to Kay Bailey Hutchinson, too.

    04 « September « 2008 « Niqnaq

  • The Heinlein pick is interesting as opposed to many others might pick (Stranger in a Strange Land or Stormship Troopers).

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  • I pointed out that the term pick 'n' mix was actually coined by Woolworth's, a retailer, to describe their facility for shoppers to shovel all sorts of sweets candies if you're over there into one bag and pay for them all together.

    What if I don't fancy a balanced meal?

  • Remember to tell us why you think your pick is awesome and to leave us your e-mail address (in case we put your pick in the magazine!).

    Our Must pick belongs in the background of a 'Grey's Anatomy' scene. What are you loving this week? |

  • As for Ross himself, the pick is a little … strange.

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  • Is that perhaps an instance of catachresis? (As described here.)

    October 24, 2009

  • A slight twitch on the reins, and a prod from the Monk’s heels and they were off, picking their way

    carefully down the rocky incline.

    – Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

    August 4, 2009