- to pull off or out from the place of growth, as fruit, flowers, feathers, etc.: to pluck feathers from a chicken.
- to give a pull at; grasp: to pluck someone's sleeve.
- to pull with sudden force or with a jerk.
- to pull or move by force (often followed by away, off, or out).
- to remove the feathers, hair, etc., from by pulling: to pluck a chicken.
- Slang. to rob, plunder, or fleece.
- to sound (the strings of a musical instrument) by pulling at them with the fingers or a plectrum.
- to pull or tug sharply (often followed by at).
- to snatch (often followed by at).
- act of plucking; a tug.
- the heart, liver, and lungs, especially of an animal used for food.
- courage or resolution in the face of difficulties.
- pluck up,
- to eradicate; uproot.
- to summon up one's courage; rouse one's spirits: He always plucked up at the approach of danger. She was a stranger in the town, but, plucking up her courage, she soon made friends.
Origin of pluck
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for pluck
Pluck a pebble from a mountain and pretend the mountain is gone.The Crazy Way Creationists Try To Explain Human Tails Without Evolution
Karl W. Giberson
June 1, 2014
The human urge to pluck a string and make music goes back many millennia.Was The Beatles’ Music Really That Unique? Yeah, It Totally Was.
February 2, 2014
The easiest thing would be to pluck another exiled oligarch out of the sin bin.Putin Needs an Enemy After Berezovsky’s Death
March 25, 2013
I pluck the daisies as they grow, and take them home,' said the old woman after a short silence. 'Charles Dickens' Enduring Insights on Human Loss and Suffering
February 18, 2013
So obviously the Obama campaign will be able to pluck many counter-examples from its file and probably fight this one to a draw.Romney's Campaign Is Smart
May 29, 2012
Cut off my arm and pluck out my eye, so that the other may be better.The Imaginary Invalid
Rima was not there to pluck the rage from my heart and save his evil life.Green Mansions
W. H. Hudson
Then you have to do the best you can, and prove the pluck that is in you.
Now I must be permitted to celebrate by a little the pluck of Dick.
Why should you aspire to pluck the flower which has grown up amongst us?Micah Clarke
Arthur Conan Doyle
- (tr) to pull off (feathers, fruit, etc) from (a fowl, tree, etc)
- (when intr, foll by at) to pull or tug
- (tr; foll by off, away, etc) archaic to pull (something) forcibly or violently (from something or someone)
- (tr) to sound (the strings) of (a musical instrument) with the fingers, a plectrum, etc
- (tr) another word for strip 1 (def. 7)
- (tr) slang to fleece or swindle
- courage, usually in the face of difficulties or hardship
- a sudden pull or tug
- the heart, liver, and lungs, esp of an animal used for food
Word Origin and History for pluck
late Old English ploccian, pluccian "pull off, cull," from West Germanic *plokken (cf. Middle Low German plucken, Middle Dutch plocken, Dutch plukken, Flemish plokken, German pflücken), perhaps from Vulgar Latin *piluccare (cf. Old French peluchier, late 12c.; Italian piluccare), a frequentative, ultimately from Latin pilare "pull out hair," from pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)). But despite the similarities, OED finds difficulties with this and cites gaps in historical evidence. Related: Plucked; plucking.
To pluck a rose, an expression said to be used by women for going to the necessary house, which in the country usually stands in the garden. [F. Grose, "Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1785]
This euphemistic use is attested from 1610s. To pluck up "summon up" is from c.1300.
c.1400, "act of plucking," from pluck (v.). Meaning "courage, boldness" (1785), originally in pugilism slang, is a figurative use from earlier meaning "heart, viscera" (1610s) as that which is "plucked" from slaughtered livestock. Perhaps influenced by figurative use of the verb in pluck up (one's courage, etc.), attested from c.1300.