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RELATED WORDS

badger, bait, blame, bully, carp, cavil, criticize, foment, goad, hector, incite, instigate, quibble, start, tease, torment

Nearby words

piceous, pich, pichiciago, pichiciego, picinni, pick, pick 'n' mix, pick a bone with, pick a quarrel, pick and choose, 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.
SYNONYMS FOR pick
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 (1 of 4)

pick at


verb

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

British Dictionary definitions for pick at (2 of 4)

pick

1
/ (pɪk) /

verb

noun

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

British Dictionary definitions for pick at (3 of 4)

pick

2
/ (pɪk) /

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

British Dictionary definitions for pick at (4 of 4)

pick

3
/ (in weaving pɪk) /

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

Idioms and Phrases with pick at (1 of 2)

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]

Idioms and Phrases with pick at (2 of 2)

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.