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- (transitive) To remove by plucking from, for example, the ground.
- 1860 December – 1861 August, Charles Dickens, chapter XVII, in Great Expectations [...] In Three Volumes, volume I, London: Chapman and Hall, […], published October 1861, OCLC 3359935, page 273:
- "If I could have settled down," I said to Biddy, plucking up the short grass within reach, much as I had once upon a time pulled my feelings out of my hair and kicked them into the brewery wall: [...]
- 1885, Philip Schaff (editor), Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II/Volume VII/S. Cyril/Lecture 6:
- Let none associate with the soul-destroying Manicheans, who by decoctions of chaff counterfeit the sad look of fasting, who speak evil of the Creator of meats, and greedily devour the daintiest, who teach that the man who plucks up this or that herb is changed into it. For if he who crops herbs or any vegetable is changed into the same, into how many will husbandmen and the tribe of gardeners be changed?
- (intransitive) To become more cheerful.
- 1898, [George] Bernard Shaw, “Cæsar and Cleopatra”, in Three Plays for Puritans: The Devil’s Disciple, Cæsar and Cleopatra, & Captain Brassbound’s Conversion, London: Grant Richards, […], published 1901, OCLC 122594195, Act III, page 153:
- cæsar [taking the dates] My age! [He shakes his head and bites a date]. Yes, Rufio: I am an old man—worn out now—true, quite true. [He gives way to melancholy contemplation, and eats another date]. Achillas is still in his prime: Ptolemy is a boy. [He eats another date, and plucks up a little]. Well, every dog has his day; and I have had mine: I cannot complain.
- (transitive) To summon positive emotion (especially courage); to muster.
- 1869 May, Anthony Trollope, “The Honourable Mr. Glascock”, in He Knew He Was Right, volume I, London: Strahan and Company, publishers, […], OCLC 1118026626, page 103:
- […] But she knew that she must pluck up courage for an important moment, and she collected herself, braced her muscles, as it were, for a fight, and threw her mind into an attitude of contest.
- 1893, Edward Livermore Burlingame [et al.], Scribner’s Magazine, volume XIII:
- Every ten minutes they consulted together as to who could pluck up the courage to ask some passer-by the time. The passers-by were all back street people.
- (sports, transitive) To purchase a player; to sign.
- 2011 January 31, Matt Kieltyka, “Ethan Gage off to Reading”, in Metro Canada:
- As rumoured for some time, 18-year-old Ethan Gage was plucked up by English Championship club Reading FC Monday. Gage trained in Vancouver with the MLS club