From Middle English piken, picken, pikken, from Old English *piccian, *pīcian (attested in pīcung (“a pricking”)), and pīcan, pȳcan (“to pick, prick, pluck”), both from Proto-West Germanic *pikkōn, from Proto-Germanic *pikkōną (“to pick, peck, prick, knock”), from Proto-Indo-European *bew-, *bu- (“to make a dull, hollow sound”). Doublet of pitch and peck.
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”)).
- IPA(key): /pɪk/, [pʰɪk]
Audio (UK) (file) Audio (US) (file) Audio (AU) (file)
- Homophone: pic
- Rhymes: -ɪk
pick (plural picks)
- A tool used for digging; a pickaxe.
- (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.
- A pointed hammer used for dressing millstones.
- A tool for unlocking a lock without the original key; a lock pick, picklock.
- A comb with long widely spaced teeth, for use with tightly curled hair.
- (music) A tool used for strumming the strings of a guitar; a plectrum.
- (obsolete) A pike or spike; the sharp point fixed in the center of a buckler.
- c. 1607–1611, Francis Beaumont; John Fletcher, “Cupid’s Revenge”, in Comedies and Tragedies […], London: […] Humphrey Robinson, […], and for Humphrey Moseley […], published 1679, →OCLC, Act IV, (please specify the scene number in lowercase Roman numerals):
- Take down my buckler […] and grind the pick on 't.
- A choice; ability to choose.
- 1858, Edward Bulwer-Lytton, What Will He Do With It?:
- France and Russia have the pick of our stables.
- That which would be picked or chosen first; the best.
- (Australia) Pasture; feed, for animals. [from 20th c.]
- 2002, Alex Miller, Journey to the Stone Country, Allen & Unwin, published 2003, page 69:
- ‘She's all African grass and Brahmans. There's not a blade of native pick left, except on the ridges.’
- 2018, Tim Flannery, Europe: A Natural History, page 232:
- The judicious use of fire could have protected valuable nut trees, promoted the growth and seeding of grass and, if practised at a distance from their camps, even attracted herbivores to the sweet young pick.
- (basketball) A screen.
- (lacrosse) An offensive tactic in which a player stands so as to block a defender from reaching a teammate.
- (American football) An interception.
- (baseball) A good defensive play by an infielder.
- (baseball) A pickoff.
- (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
- c. 1866, Thomas MacKellar, The American Printer
- (art, painting) That which is picked in, as with a pointed pencil, to correct an unevenness in a picture.
- (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
pick (third-person singular simple present picks, present participle picking, simple past and past participle picked)
- To grasp and pull with the fingers or fingernails.
- Don't pick at that scab.
- He picked his nose.
- 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.
- To pull apart or away, especially with the fingers; to pluck.
- She picked flowers in the meadow.
- to pick feathers from a fowl
- To take up; especially, to gather from here and there; to collect; to bring together.
- to pick rags
- 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
- c. 1597 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merry Wiues of Windsor”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i]:
- Did you pick Master Slender's purse?
- 1782–1785, William Cowper, “(please specify the page)”, in The Task, a Poem, […], London: […] J[oseph] Johnson; […], →OCLC:
- He picks clean teeth, and, busy as he seems / With an old tavern quill, is hungry yet.
- 1838, Boz [pseudonym; Charles Dickens], chapter 43, in Oliver Twist; or, The Parish Boy’s Progress. […], volume (please specify |volume=I, II, or III), London: Richard Bentley, […], →OCLC:
- He was charged with attempting to pick a pocket, and they found a silver snuff-box on him,--his own, my dear, his own, for he took snuff himself, and was very fond of it.
- 1953, Samuel Beckett, Watt, Olympia Press:
- For the pocket in which Erskine kept this key was not the kind of pocket that Watt could pick. For it was no ordinary pocket, no, but a secret one, sewn on to the front of Erskine's underhose.
- To decide upon, from a set of options; to select.
- I'll pick the one with the nicest name.
- (transitive) To seek (a fight or quarrel) where the opportunity arises.
- (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.
- (music) To pluck the individual strings of a musical instrument or to play such an instrument.
- He picked a tune on his banjo.
- To open (a lock) with a wire, lock pick, etc.
- 1953, Samuel Beckett, Watt, Olympia Press:
- The lock was of a kind that Watt could not pick. Watt could pick simple locks, but he could not pick obscure locks.
- 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?
- 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.
- To steal; to pilfer.
- 1549 March 7, Thomas Cranmer [et al.], compilers, The Booke of the Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacramentes, […], London: […] Edowardi Whitchurche […], →OCLC:
- to keep my hands from picking and stealing
- (obsolete) To throw; to pitch.
- c. 1608–1609 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene i]:
- as high as I could pick my lance
- (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.
- (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.
- (basketball) To screen.
- (American football, informal) To intercept a pass from the offense as a defensive player.
- The pass was almost picked, but the tight end was able to hold on.
|present tense||past tense|
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
- (colloquial) a dick (penis)
|Declension of pick|
- pick in Svensk ordbok (SO)
- pick in Svenska Akademiens ordlista (SAOL)
- pick in Svenska Akademiens ordbok (SAOB)
From Middle English pikke, from Old English pīc, from Proto-West Germanic *pīk.
pick (plural pickkès or pikkès)
- 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
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