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[pik-nik] /ˈpɪk nɪk/
an excursion or outing in which the participants carry food with them and share a meal in the open air.
the food eaten on such an excursion.
Also called picnic ham, picnic shoulder. a section of pork shoulder, usually boned, smoked, and weighing 4–6 pounds.
Compare daisy (def 2).
Informal. an enjoyable experience or time, easy task, etc.:
Being laid up in a hospital is no picnic.
verb (used without object), picnicked, picnicking.
to go on or take part in a picnic.
Origin of picnic
1740-50; < German Pic-nic (now Picknick) < French pique-nique, rhyming compound < ?
Related forms
picnicker, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for picnickers
Historical Examples
  • It had taken a long time for concern to spread among the picnickers.

    The Innocent Adventuress Mary Hastings Bradley
  • For some time the picnickers pursued their way in solemn silence.

  • They were soon eating a breakfast with the spirit of picnickers.

    Wayside Courtships Hamlin Garland
  • A few of the picnickers were turning their heads curiously in that direction.

    The Octopus Frank Norris
  • All at once the picnickers were startled by a howl of rage from Colonel Witham.

    The Rival Campers Ruel Perley Smith
  • The wagon was smashed, and the picnickers fled in all directions.

    Diplomatic Days Edith O'Shaughnessy
  • This was a little too much for the patience of the two picnickers.

    Nelly's First Schooldays Josephine Franklin
  • A party of picnickers had evidently been there just before us.

    Mrs. Falchion, Complete Gilbert Parker
  • We won't have to ride out in front where the picnickers are.

    The Million Dollar Mystery Harold MacGrath
  • Then he pushed his spectacles up on his forehead and looked carefully at the picnickers.

    Kilo Ellis Parker Butler
British Dictionary definitions for picnickers


a trip or excursion to the country, seaside, etc, on which people bring food to be eaten in the open air
  1. any informal meal eaten outside
  2. (as modifier): a picnic lunch
(informal, mainly Austral) a troublesome situation or experience
(informal) no picnic, a hard or disagreeable task
verb -nics, -nicking, -nicked
(intransitive) to eat a picnic
Derived Forms
picnicker, noun
Word Origin
C18: from French piquenique, of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for picnickers



1748 (in Chesterfield's "Letters"), but rare before c.1800 as an English institution; originally a fashionable pot-luck social affair, not necessarily out of doors; from French piquenique (1690s), perhaps a reduplication of piquer "to pick, peck," from Old French (see pike (n.2)), or the second element may be nique "worthless thing," from a Germanic source. Figurative sense of "something easy" is from 1886. Picnic table recorded from 1926, originally a folding table.



"go on a picnic," 1842, from picnic (n.). Related: Picnicked; picnicking. The -k- is inserted to preserve the "k" sound of -c- before a suffix beginning in -i-, -y-, or -e- (cf. traffic/trafficking, panic/panicky, shellac/shellacked).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for picnickers



  1. Something very easy; an easy undertaking; cinch, piece of cake: That job's a picnic (1880s+)
  2. A good or enjoyable time; a BALL, blast: The last week we had a picnic (1909+)

Related Terms

no picnic

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with picnickers


see: no picnic
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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