from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun An edible product, such as a cucumber, that has been preserved and flavored in a solution of brine or vinegar.
  • noun A solution of brine or vinegar, often spiced, for preserving and flavoring food.
  • noun A chemical solution, such as an acid, that is used as a bath to remove scale and oxides from the surface of metals before plating or finishing.
  • noun Informal A disagreeable or troublesome situation; a plight. synonym: predicament.
  • noun Baseball A rundown.
  • transitive verb To preserve or flavor (food) in a solution of brine or vinegar.
  • transitive verb To treat (metal) in a chemical bath.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A solution of salt and sulphuric acid in which skins are packed to preserve them. Sometimes other ingredients are used.
  • To pick.
  • To glean.
  • To eat sparingly or squeamishly; pick.
  • To commit small thefts; pilfer.
  • noun A grain of corn; any minute particle; a small quantity; a few.
  • noun A hay-fork.
  • noun A solution of salt and water in which flesh, fish, or other substance is preserved; brine.
  • noun Vinegar, sometimes impregnated with spices, in which vegetables, fish, oysters, etc., are preserved.
  • noun A thing preserved in pickle (in either of the above senses); specifically, a pickled cucumber.
  • noun In founding, a bath of dilute sulphuric acid, or, for brass, of dilute nitric acid, to remove the sand and impurities from the surface.
  • noun A state or condition of difficulty or disorder; a disagreeable position; a plight.
  • noun A troublesome child.
  • To preserve in pickle or brine; treat with pickle; also, to preserve or put up with vinegar, etc.: as, to pickle herring; to pickle onions.
  • To imbue highly with anything bad: as, a pickled rogue.
  • To prepare, as an imitation, and sell as genuine; give an antique appearance to: said of copies or imitations of paintings by the old masters.
  • To subject, as various hardware articles, to the action of certain chemical agents in the process of manufacture.
  • To treat with brine or pickle, as nets, to keep them from rotting.
  • noun A small piece of land inclosed with a hedge; an inclosure; a close.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun See picle.
  • noun A solution of salt and water, in which fish, meat, etc., may be preserved or corned; brine.
  • noun Vinegar, plain or spiced, used for preserving vegetables, fish, eggs, oysters, etc.
  • noun Any article of food which has been preserved in brine or in vinegar.
  • noun (Founding) A bath of dilute sulphuric or nitric acid, etc., to remove burnt sand, scale rust, etc., from the surface of castings, or other articles of metal, or to brighten them or improve their color.
  • noun colloq. A troublesome child.
  • noun to be in disagreeable position; to be in a condition of embarrassment, difficulty, or disorder.
  • noun to prepare a particular reproof, punishment, or penalty for future application.
  • transitive verb To preserve or season in pickle; to treat with some kind of pickle.
  • transitive verb To give an antique appearance to; -- said of copies or imitations of paintings by the old masters.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A cucumber preserved in a solution, usually a brine or a vinegar syrup.
  • noun , any vegetable preserved in vinegar and consumed as relish.
  • noun The brine used for preserving food.
  • noun A difficult situation, peril.
  • noun An affectionate term for a mildly mischievous loved one
  • noun baseball A rundown.
  • noun A children’s game with three participants that emulates a baseball rundown
  • noun slang A penis.
  • verb To preserve food in a salt, sugar or vinegar solution.
  • verb To remove high-temperature scale and oxidation from metal with heated (often sulphuric) industrial acid.
  • verb programming (in the Python programming language) To serialize.
  • noun Scotland A kernel, grain
  • noun Scotland A bit, small quantity


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

[Middle English pikle, highly seasoned sauce, probably from Middle Dutch pekel, pickle, brine; perhaps akin to Middle Dutch peken, to prick, pierce, and English pick.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English pikel, pykyl, pekille, pigell ("spicy sauce served with meat or fish"), from Middle Dutch pekel ("brine"). Cognate with Scots pikkill ("salt liquor, brine"), Eastern Frisian pekel, päkel ("pickle, brine"), Dutch pekel ("pickle, brine"), Low German pekel, peckel, pickel, bickel ("pickle, brine"), German Pökel ("pickle, brine").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Perhaps from Scottish pickle 'to trifle, pilfer'


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  • Rocky Rococo: "Are you threatening me?! Why, you stupid toad! I ought to beat your brain out!"

    Nancy: "No! Put down that pickle!"

    --Firesign Theatre

    February 18, 2007

  • Thanks, c_b. That has to be my all-time favorite use of pickle. :-)

    February 18, 2007

  • A pickle walks into a bar and the bartender says, "Hey, you're a pickle! What are you doing here?"

    The pickle says, "Well for starters, I'm celebrating the fact that I can walk."

    April 8, 2008

  • Then there's Arlo Guthrie's Motorcycle Song. I'm not sure what it's about, but it does establish that pickle and motorcycle can rhyme. Sort of.

    April 8, 2008

  • In baseball, "A rundown, or when a runner is caught between two fielders who are throwing the ball back and forth to each other in an attempt to tag the runner out."

    July 11, 2008

  • Citation (in the sense of a difficult situation) on ignoramus.

    July 29, 2008

  • Could also mean a conundrum.

    April 28, 2009

  • Weirdnet Definition No. 4 is a bit overstated, I think. How do they come up with these things?

    April 28, 2009

  • Have you heard the phrase "in a pickle"? ... or do you mean the definition is too strong for "in a pickle"?

    April 28, 2009

  • In British English, pickle (uncountable) often refers to a sweet brown chutney, as in "a cheese and pickle sandwich". In the plural, as in "a jar of pickles", it refers to any kind of vegetables preserved in a vinegar solution, e.g. "mixed pickles", which include small onions and cauliflower florets. (American pickles are called "pickled gherkins".)

    August 9, 2009

  • "Reape barlie with sickle, that lies in ill pickle."

    - Thomas Tusser, 'Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie', 1573.

    October 30, 2009