pick

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English[edit]

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A pick (pickaxe)

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English piken, picken, pikken, from Old English *piccian, *pīcian (attested in pīcung (a pricking)), and pȳcan (to pick, prick, pluck), both from Proto-Germanic *pikkōną, *pūkijaną (to pick, peck, prick, knock), from Proto-Indo-European *bew-, *bu- (to make a dull, hollow sound). Cognate with Dutch pikken (to pick), German picken (to pick, peck), Old Norse pikka, pjakka (whence Icelandic pikka (to pick, prick), Swedish picka (to pick, peck)).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

pick (plural picks)

  1. A tool used for digging; a pickaxe.
  2. A tool for unlocking a lock without the original key; a lock pick, picklock.
  3. A comb with long widely spaced teeth, for use with tightly curled hair.
  4. A choice; ability to choose.
    • 1858, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, What Will He Do With It?
      France and Russia have the pick of our stables.
  5. That which would be picked or chosen first; the best.
  6. (music) A tool used for strumming the strings of a guitar; a plectrum.
  7. (nautical, slang) An anchor.
    • 2021 December 1, The Road Ahead, page 41, column 2:
      It's better to amble around, drop the "pick" for a lunchtime swim or beachcomb, then find a nice anchorage for the night.
  8. (basketball) A screen.
  9. (lacrosse) An offensive tactic in which a player stands so as to block a defender from reaching a teammate.
  10. (American football) An interception.
  11. (baseball) A good defensive play by an infielder.
  12. (baseball) A pickoff.
  13. A pointed hammer used for dressing millstones.
  14. (obsolete) A pike or spike; the sharp point fixed in the center of a buckler.
  15. (printing, dated) A particle of ink or paper embedded in the hollow of a letter, filling up its face, and causing a spot on a printed sheet.
    • c. 1866, Thomas MacKellar, The American Printer
      If it be in the smallest degree gritty, it clogs the form, and consequently produces a thick and imperfect impression; no pains should, therefore, be spared to render it perfectly smooth; it may then be made to work as clear and free from picks
  16. (art, painting) That which is picked in, as with a pointed pencil, to correct an unevenness in a picture.
  17. (weaving) The blow that drives the shuttle, used in calculating the speed of a loom (in picks per minute); hence, in describing the fineness of a fabric, a weft thread.
    so many picks to an inch
  18. (Australia) Pasture; feed, for animals. [from 20th c.]
    • 2002, Alex Miller, Journey to the Stone Country, Allen & Unwin 2003, p. 69:
      ‘She's all African grass and Brahmans. There's not a blade of native pick left, except on the ridges.’

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

pick (third-person singular simple present picks, present participle picking, simple past and past participle picked)

  1. To grasp and pull with the fingers or fingernails.
    Don't pick at that scab.
    He picked his nose.
  2. 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.
    It's time to pick the tomatoes.
  3. To pull apart or away, especially with the fingers; to pluck.
    She picked flowers in the meadow.
    to pick feathers from a fowl
  4. To take up; especially, to gather from here and there; to collect; to bring together.
    to pick rags
  5. To remove something from somewhere with a pointed instrument, with the fingers, or with the teeth.
    to pick the teeth; to pick a bone; to pick a goose; to pick a pocket
  6. To decide upon, from a set of options; to select.
    I'll pick the one with the nicest name.
  7. (transitive) To seek (a fight or quarrel) where the opportunity arises.
  8. (cricket) 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.
    He didn't pick the googly, and was bowled.
  9. (music) To pluck the individual strings of a musical instrument or to play such an instrument.
    He picked a tune on his banjo.
  10. To open (a lock) with a wire, lock pick, etc.
    • 1953, Samuel Beckett, Watt
      The lock was of a kind that Watt could not pick. Watt could pick simple locks, but he could not pick obscure locks.
  11. To eat slowly, sparingly, or by morsels; to nibble.
    • 1693, John Dryden, Third Satire of Persius
      Why stand'st thou picking? Is thy palate sore?
  12. To do anything fastidiously or carefully, or by attending to small things; to select something with care.
    I gingerly picked my way between the thorny shrubs.
  13. To steal; to pilfer.
  14. (obsolete) To throw; to pitch.
  15. (dated) 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.
  16. (transitive, intransitive) To separate or open by means of a sharp point or points.
    to pick matted wool, cotton, oakum, etc.
    • 1912, Victor Whitechurch, Thrilling Stories of the Railway
      Naphtha lamps shed a weird light over a busy scene, for the work was being continued night and day. A score or so of sturdy navvies were shovelling and picking along the track.
  17. (basketball) To screen.

Conjugation[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Terms derived from the pick (verb)

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 Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]


German[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

pick

  1. singular imperative of picken
  2. (colloquial) first-person singular present of picken

Yola[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English pikke, from Old English pīc, from Proto-West Germanic *pīk.

Noun[edit]

pick (plural pickkès or pikkès)

  1. a pike

References[edit]

  • Jacob Poole (1867), William Barnes, editor, A Glossary, With some Pieces of Verse, of the old Dialect of the English Colony in the Baronies of Forth and Bargy, County of Wexford, Ireland, London: J. Russell Smith, page 61