Definitions

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

  • n. A meal eaten outdoors, as on an excursion.
  • n. Slang An easy task or a pleasant experience.
  • n. A smoked section of pork foreleg and shoulder.
  • intransitive v. To go on or participate in a picnic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A meal eaten outdoors or in another informal setting.
  • n. An easy or pleasant task.
  • v. To eat a picnic.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Formerly, an entertainment at which each person contributed some dish to a common table; now, an excursion or pleasure party in which the members partake of a collation or repast (usually in the open air, and from food carried by themselves).
  • intransitive v. To go on a picnic, or pleasure excursion; to eat in public fashion.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Formerly, an entertainment in which every partaker contributed his share to the general table; now, an entertainment or pleasure-party the members of which carry provisions with them on an excursion, as from a city to some place in the country: also used adjectively: as, a picnic party; picnic biscuits (a kind of small sweet biscuits).
  • To attend a picnic party; take part in a picnic meal: as, we picnicked in the woods.
  • n. Something undeniably good or easy; a ‘soft thing’; a snug berth; a treat; an easy job.
  • n. A lively, difficult, or awkard experience.

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

  • n. any informal meal eaten outside or on an excursion
  • v. eat alfresco, in the open air
  • n. any undertaking that is easy to do
  • n. a day devoted to an outdoor social gathering

Etymologies

French pique-nique, probably reduplication of piquer, to pick; see pique.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French pique-nique (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Back in Croton the word picnic conjured images of soggy PB&Js and Minute Maid fruit punch juice boxes.

    Paradise Lost

  • Further, my picnic is as full as they come ... complete with potato salad and fire ants.

    Bolden Visits JSC - NASA Watch

  • Clara looked puzzled for a moment—she had forgotten that that was what they called the picnic spot on the Guadalupe.

    Lonesome Dove

  • Clara looked puzzled for a moment — she had forgotten that that was what they called the picnic spot on the Guadalupe.

    Lonesome Dove

  • Clara looked puzzled for a moment -- she had forgotten that that was what they called the picnic spot on the Guadalupe.

    Lonesome Dove

  • 'Noa,' he said in a surly tone, smiling oddly on the winkers, but, recollecting his politeness, he added, 'Noa, thankee, misses, it's what they calls a picnic; we'll be takin' the road now. '

    Uncle Silas A Tale of Bartram-Haugh

  • But the one thing that can be counted on more than rain on a church picnic is the resourcefulness of a church secretary.

    AND THE WELL RUNS DEEP • by Jason Stout

  • The days when a picnic is just calling your name and you can linger in the freshly cut grass under the shade of a big tree.

    Picnics & Paninis

  • For example, between the Jordanians and the Israelis, the bureaucrats that had to manage this resource came together literally at a picnic table at the boarder for what became known as the picnic table talks, to jointly manage [water] when their two countries were formally at war.

    J. Carl Ganter: Geoff Dabelko: Talking Water and Environmental Peacemaking in China, Tibet and Darfur

  • The wifi picnic is a fun gathering, dedicated to conviviality, citizenship and sharing.

    Smart Mobs » Blog Archive » Wifi picning in Paris

Comments

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  • Hey, that's like pebkac. *tickled that she remembered something for once*

    August 26, 2008

  • Problem
    In
    Chair
    Not
    In
    Computer

    August 26, 2008

  • "'Picnic' began life as a 17th-century French word—it wasn't even close to being an American invention. A 1692 edition of Origines de la Langue Françoise de Ménage mentions 'piquenique' as being of recent origin marks the first appearance of the word in print. As for how the French came by this new term, it was likely invented by joining the common form of the verb 'piquer' (meaning "to pick" or "peck") and a nonsense rhyming syllable coined to fit the first half of this new palate-pleaser."
    - Snopes.com

    January 25, 2008