Definitions

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

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

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Something undeniably good or easy; a ‘soft thing’; a snug berth; a treat; an easy job.
  • noun A lively, difficult, or awkard experience.
  • noun 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.

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

  • noun 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 verb To go on a picnic, or pleasure excursion; to eat in public fashion.

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

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[French pique-nique, probably reduplication of piquer, to pick; see pique.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French pique-nique

Examples

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

    Paradise Lost

  • 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.

    The Lonesome Dove Series

  • 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

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • "'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

  • Problem

    In

    Chair

    Not

    In

    Computer

    August 26, 2008

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

    August 26, 2008

  • "The word 'picnic' was taken from the French pique-nique. In 1802 the Picnic Club was formed, its members sharing the cost of meals sent from a local tavern, but the word soon developed its modern meaning of sharing food out of doors."

    --Kate Colquhoun, Taste: The Story of Britain Through Its Cooking (NY: Bloomsbury, 2007), 264

    January 18, 2017