Nearby words

  1. piceous,
  2. pich,
  3. pichiciago,
  4. pichiciego,
  5. picinni,
  6. pick 'n' mix,
  7. pick a bone with,
  8. pick a quarrel,
  9. pick and choose,
  10. pick and mix

Idioms

Origin of pick

1
1250–1300; v. Middle English pyken, pikken, pekken, cognate with Dutch pikken, German picken, Old Norse pikka to pick; akin to peck2, pike5; (noun) derivative of the v.

Related formspick·a·ble, adjectiveun·pick·a·ble, adjective

Synonym study

1. See choose.

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for pick at

pick at

verb

(intr, preposition) to make criticisms of in a niggling or petty manner

pick

1

verb

to choose (something) deliberately or carefully, from or as if from a group or number; select
to pluck or gather (fruit, berries, or crops) from (a tree, bush, field, etc)to pick hops; to pick a whole bush
(tr) to clean or prepare (fruit, poultry, etc) by removing the indigestible parts
(tr) to remove loose particles from (the teeth, the nose, etc)
(esp of birds) to nibble or gather (corn, etc)
(when intr, foll by at) to nibble (at) fussily or without appetite
to separate (strands, fibres, etc), as in weaving
(tr) to provoke (an argument, fight, etc) deliberately
(tr) to steal (money or valuables) from (a person's pocket)
(tr) to open (a lock) with an instrument other than a key
to pluck the strings of (a guitar, banjo, etc)
(tr) to make (one's way) carefully on footthey picked their way through the rubble
pick and choose to select fastidiously, fussily, etc
pick someone's brains to obtain information or ideas from someone

noun

freedom or right of selection (esp in the phrase take one's pick)
a person, thing, etc, that is chosen first or preferredthe pick of the bunch
the act of picking
the amount of a crop picked at one period or from one area
printing a speck of dirt or paper fibre or a blob of ink on the surface of set type or a printing plate

Derived Formspickable, adjective

Word Origin for pick

C15: from earlier piken to pick, influenced by French piquer to pierce; compare Middle Low German picken, Dutch pikken

pick

2

noun

a tool with a handle carrying a long steel head curved and tapering to a point at one or both ends, used for loosening soil, breaking rocks, etc
any of various tools used for picking, such as an ice pick or toothpick
a plectrum

verb

(tr) to pierce, dig, or break up (a hard surface) with a pick
(tr) to form (a hole) in this way

Word Origin for pick

C14: perhaps variant of pike ²

pick

3

verb

(tr) to cast (a shuttle)

noun

one casting of a shuttle
a weft or filling thread

Word Origin for pick

C14: variant of pitch 1

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

Word Origin and History for pick at
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with pick at

pick at

1

Pluck or pull at, especially with the fingers, as in She was always picking at her skirt with her nails. [1600s]

2

Eat sparingly and without appetite, as in He was just picking at his dinner. [Late 1500s]

3

Nag, badger, as in He's picking at me all day long. [Colloquial; second half of 1600s]

pick

In addition to the idioms beginning with pick

  • pick a bone with
  • pick and choose
  • pick apart
  • pick a quarrel
  • pick at
  • picked over
  • pick holes in
  • pick off
  • pick of the litter
  • pick on
  • pick one's way
  • pick out
  • pick over
  • pick someone's brain
  • pick to pieces
  • pick up
  • pick up on
  • pick up the pieces

also see:

  • bone to pick
  • slim pickings
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.