pluck

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English plucken, plukken, plockien, from Old English pluccian, ploccian (to pluck, pull away, tear), also Old English plyċċan ("to pluck, pull, snatch; pluck with desire"; > Modern English plitch), from Proto-Germanic *plukkōną, *plukkijaną (to pluck), of uncertain and disputed origin. Perhaps related to Old English pullian (to pull, draw; pluck off; snatch). Cognate with Dutch plukken (to pluck), Limburgish plógte (to pluck), Low German plukken (to pluck), German pflücken (to pluck, pick), Danish plukke (to pick), Swedish plocka (to pick, pluck, cull), Icelandic plokka, plukka (to pluck, pull). More at pull.

An alternate etymology suggests Proto-Germanic *plukkōną, *plukkijaną may have been borrowed from an assumed Vulgar Latin *piluccāre, *pilicāre, a derivative of Latin pilāre (to deprive of hair, make bald, depilate), from pilus (hair). The Oxford English Dictionary, however, finds difficulties with this and cites gaps in historical evidence. [1]

The noun sense of "heart, liver, and lights of an animal" comes from it being plucked out of the carcas after the animal is killed; the sense of "fortitude, boldness" derives from this meaning, originally being a boxing slang denoting a prize-ring, with semantic development from "heart", the symbol of courage, to "fortitude, boldness".

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

pluck (third-person singular simple present plucks, present participle plucking, simple past and past participle plucked or obsolete, pluckt)

  1. (transitive) To pull something sharply; to pull something out
    She plucked the phone from her bag and dialled.
    • 1900, Charles W. Chesnutt, The House Behind the Cedars, Chapter I,
      The girl stooped to pluck a rose, and as she bent over it, her profile was clearly outlined.
  2. (transitive, music) To gently play a single string, e.g. on a guitar, violin etc.
    Whereas a piano strikes the string, a harpsichord plucks it.
  3. (transitive) To remove feathers from a bird.
  4. (transitive) To rob, fleece, steal forcibly
    The horny highwayman plucked his victims to their underwear, or attractive ones all the way.
  5. (transitive) To play a string instrument pizzicato
    Plucking a bow instrument may cause a string to break.
  6. (intransitive) To pull or twitch sharply.
    to pluck at somebody's sleeve
  7. (UK, universities) To reject at an examination for degrees.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Charlotte Bronte to this entry?)

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Noun[edit]

pluck (uncountable)

  1. An instance of plucking
    Those tiny birds are hardly worth the tedious pluck
  2. The lungs, heart with trachea and often oesophagus removed from slaughtered animals.
  3. Guts, nerve, fortitude or persistence.
    He didn't get far with the attempt, but you have to admire his pluck.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

References[edit]

Anagrams[edit]