pick ( picks plural & 3rd person present) ( picking present participle) ( picked past tense & past participle )
1 verb If you pick a particular person or thing, you choose that one.
Mr Nowell had picked ten people to interview for six sales jobs in London... V n
I had deliberately picked a city with a tropical climate. V n
2 n-sing You can refer to the best things or people in a particular group as the pickof that group.
the N, usu the N of n
The boys here are the pick of the under-15 cricketers in the country...
3 verb When you pick flowers, fruit, or leaves, you break them off the plant or tree and collect them.
She used to pick flowers in the Cromwell Road... V n
4 verb If you pick something from a place, you remove it from there with your fingers or your hand.
He picked the napkin from his lap and placed it alongside his plate... V n prep
5 verb If you pick your nose or teeth, you remove substances from inside your nose or between your teeth.
Edgar, don't pick your nose, dear... V n
6 verb If you pick a fight or quarrel with someone, you deliberately cause one.
He picked a fight with a waiter and landed in jail... V n with n
7 verb If someone such as a thief picks a lock, they open it without a key, for example by using a piece of wire.
He picked each lock deftly, and rifled the papers within each drawer. V n
8 n-count A pick is the same as a pickaxe.
10 If you pick and choose, you carefully choose only things that you really want and reject the others.
pick and choose phrase Vs inflect, usu PHR n
We, the patients, cannot pick and choose our doctors.
11 If you have your pick of a group of things, you are able to choose any of them that you want.
have one's pick phrase V inflects, PHR of n
Here is an actress who could have her pick of any part...
12 If you are told to take your pick, you can choose any one that you like from a group of things.
take one's pick phrase V inflects, oft PHR of/from n
Accountants can take their pick of company cars...
13 If you pick your way across an area, you walk across it very carefully in order to avoid obstacles or dangerous things.
pick one's way phrase V inflects, PHR prep/adv
The girls were afraid of snakes and picked their way along with extreme caution...
to pick someone's brains
to pick holes in something
to pick someone's pocket
pocket pick at phrasal verb If you pick at the food that you are eating, you eat only very small amounts of it.
Sarah picked at a plate of cheese for supper, but she wasn't really hungry. V P n pick off phrasal verb If someone picks off people or aircraft, they shoot them down one by one, aiming carefully at them from a distance.
Both groups on either side are just picking off innocent bystanders... V P n (not pron)
Any decent shot with telescopic sights could pick us off at random. V n P pick on
1 phrasal verb If someone picks on you, they repeatedly criticize you unfairly or treat you unkindly.
INFORMAL Bullies pick on younger children... V P n
2 phrasal verb If someone picks on a particular person or thing, they choose them, for example for special attention or treatment.
When you have made up your mind, pick on a day when you will not be under much stress... V P n pick out
1 phrasal verb If you pick out someone or something, you recognize them when it is difficult to see them, for example because they are among a large group.
The detective-constable picked out the words with difficulty... V P n (not pron)
Steven describes himself as `a regular guy<endash>you couldn't pick me out of a crowd'. V n P
2 phrasal verb If you pick out someone or something, you choose them from a group of people or things.
I have been picked out to represent the whole team... V P n (not pron)
There are so many great newscasters it's difficult to pick one out. V n P
3 phrasal verb If part of something is picked outin a particular colour, it is painted in that colour so that it can be seen clearly beside the other parts.
The name is picked out in gold letters over the shop-front. be V-ed P pick over phrasal verb If you pick over a quantity of things, you examine them carefully, for example to reject the ones you do not want.
Pick over the fruit and pile on top of the cream. V P n (not pron) pick up
1 phrasal verb When you pick something up, you lift it up.
He picked his cap up from the floor and stuck it back on his head... V n P
Ridley picked up a pencil and fiddled with it. V P n (not pron)
2 phrasal verb When you pickyourselfup after you have fallen or been knocked down, you stand up rather slowly.
Anthony picked himself up and set off along the track. V pron-refl P
3 phrasal verb When you pick up someone or something that is waiting to be collected, you go to the place where they are and take them away, often in a car.
She went over to her parents' house to pick up some clean clothes... V P n (not pron)
I picked her up at Covent Garden to take her to lunch with my mother. V n P
4 phrasal verb If someone is picked up by the police, they are arrested and taken to a police station.
Rawlings had been picked up by police at his office... be V-ed P
The police picked him up within the hour. V n P, Also V P n (not pron)
5 phrasal verb If you pick up something such as a skill or an idea, you acquire it without effort over a period of time.
INFORMAL Where did you pick up your English?... V P n (not pron)
6 phrasal verb If you pick up someone you do not know, you talk to them and try to start a sexual relationship with them.
INFORMAL He had picked her up at a nightclub on Kallari Street, where she worked as a singer. V n P, Also V P n (not pron)
7 phrasal verb If you pick up an illness, you get it from somewhere or something.
They've picked up a really nasty infection from something they've eaten. V P n (not pron), Also V n P
8 phrasal verb If a piece of equipment, for example a radio or a microphone, picks up a signal or sound, it receives it or detects it.
We can pick up Italian television... V P n (not pron)
9 phrasal verb If you pick up something, such as a feature or a pattern, you discover or identify it.
Consumers in Europe are slow to pick up trends in the use of information technology. V P n (not pron)
10 phrasal verb If someone picks up a point or topic that has already been mentioned, or if they pick up on it, they refer to it or develop it.
Can I just pick up that gentleman's point?... V P n (not pron)
I'll pick up on what I said a couple of minutes ago. V P P n, Also V n P
11 phrasal verb If trade or the economy of a country picks up, it improves.
Industrial production is beginning to pick up. V P
12 phrasal verb If you pick someone up on something that they have said or done, you mention it and tell them that you think it is wrong.
...if I may pick you up on that point... V n P P n
14 When you pick up the pieces after a disaster, you do what you can to get the situation back to normal again.
pick up the pieces phrase V inflects
Do we try and prevent problems or do we try and pick up the pieces afterwards?...
15 When a vehicle picks up speed, it begins to move more quickly.
pick up speed phrase V inflects
(=accelerate) Brian pulled away slowly, but picked up speed.
cherry-pick ( cherry-picks 3rd person present) ( cherry-picking present participle) ( cherry-picked past tense & past participle ) If someone cherry-picks people or things, they choose the best ones from a group of them, often in a way that other people consider unfair. verb
The club is in debt while others are queuing to cherry-pick their best players. V n
hand-pick ( hand-picks 3rd person present) ( hand-picking present participle) ( hand-picked past tense & past participle ) , handpick If someone is hand-picked, they are very carefully chosen by someone in authority for a particular purpose or a particular job. verb
He was hand-picked for this job by the Admiral... be V-ed
Sokagakkai was able to hand-pick his successor. V n
ice pick ( ice picks plural ) , icepick An ice pick is a small pointed tool that you use for breaking ice. n-count
pick-me-up ( pick-me-ups plural ) A pick-me-up is something that you have or do when you are tired or depressed in order to make you feel better.
This is an ideal New Year pick-me-up<endash>a five day holiday in the Bahamas.
pick 'n' mix , pick and mix
Pick 'n' mix is used to describe a way of getting a collection of things together by choosing a number of different ones.
(BRIT) adj ADJ n
It is, as some senior officials conceded, a pick 'n' mix approach to policy., ...a pick-and-mix selection of fabrics and wallpapers.
pick-up ( pick-ups plural ) , pickup
1 n-count A pick-up or a pick-up truck is a small truck with low sides that can be easily loaded and unloaded.
2 n-sing A pick-upin trade or in a country's economy is an improvement in it.
usu N in n
...a pick-up in the housing market...
3 n-count A pick-up takes place when someone picks up a person or thing that is waiting to be collected.
usu N n
The company had pick-up points in most cities...
4 n-count When a pick-up takes place, someone talks to a person in a friendly way in the hope of having a casual sexual relationship with them.
INFORMAL They had come to the world's most famous pick-up joint.