[ pik-awf, -of ]
/ ˈpɪkˌɔf, -ˌɒf /
Baseball. a play in which a base runner, caught off base, is tagged out by an infielder on a quick throw, usually from the pitcher or catcher.
Electronics. a mechanism that senses mechanical motion and produces a corresponding electric signal.
Do Zoologists Pick Animal Names Like “Pink Fairy Armadillo”?Even scientists like to have fun with words to help us laymen folk truly understand the nuances of some of these rare animals.
Origin of pick-off
First recorded in 1935–40; noun use of verb phrase pick off
Definition for pick off (2 of 2)
[ pik ]
/ pɪk /
verb (used with object)
to choose or select from among a group: to pick a contestant from the audience.
to seek and find occasion for; provoke: to pick a fight.
to attempt to find; seek out: to pick flaws in an argument.
to steal the contents of: Her pocket was picked yesterday.
to open (a lock) with a device other than the key, as a sharp instrument or wire, especially for the purpose of burglary.
to pierce, indent, dig into, or break up (something) with a pointed instrument: to pick rock; to pick ore.
to form (a hole) by such action: to pick a hole in asphalt.
to use a pointed instrument, the fingers, the teeth, the beak, etc., on (a thing), in order to remove or loosen something, as a small part or adhering matter: to pick one's teeth.
to prepare for use by removing a covering piece by piece, as feathers, hulls, or other parts: to pick a fowl.
to detach or remove piece by piece with the fingers: She picked the meat from the bones.
to pluck or gather one by one: to pick flowers.
(of birds or other animals) to take up (small bits of food) with the bill or teeth.
to eat daintily or in small morsels.
to separate, pull apart, or pull to pieces: to pick fibers.
- to pluck (the strings of an instrument).
- to play (a stringed instrument) by plucking with the fingers.
verb (used without object)
to strike with or use a pick or other pointed instrument on something.
(of birds or other animals) to take up small bits of food with the bill or teeth: The hens were busily picking about in their coop.
to select carefully or fastidiously.
to pilfer; steal.
to pluck or gather fruit, flowers, etc.
Basketball. to execute a pick.
the act of choosing or selecting; choice; selection: to take one's pick.
a person or thing that is selected: He is our pick for president.
the choicest or most desirable part, example, or examples: This horse is the pick of the stable.
the right of selection: He gave me my pick of the litter.
the quantity of a crop picked, as from trees, bushes, etc., at a particular time: The pick was poor this season.
- a speck of dirt, hardened ink, or extra metal on set type or a plate.
- a small area removed from the surface of a coated paper by ink that adheres to the form.
a stroke with something pointed: The rock shattered at the first pick of the ax.
Basketball. an offensive maneuver in which a player moves into a position between a defender and a teammate with the ball so as to prevent the defender from interfering with the shot.Compare pick-and-roll.
- to find fault with unnecessarily or persistently; nag.
- to eat sparingly or daintily: As he was ill, he only picked at his food.
- to grasp at; touch; handle: The baby loved to pick at her mother's glasses.
- to remove by pulling or plucking off.
- to single out and shoot: The hunter picked off a duck rising from the marsh.
- Baseball. to put out (a base runner) in a pick-off play.
- Informal. to criticize or blame; tease; harass.
- to single out; choose: The professor always picks on me to translate long passages.
- to choose; designate: to pick out one's successor.
- to distinguish from that which surrounds or accompanies; recognize: to pick out a well-known face in a crowd.
- to discern (sense or meaning); discriminate.
- to play (a melody) by ear; work out note by note.
- to extract by picking.
pick over, to examine (an assortment of items) in order to make a selection: Eager shoppers were picking over the shirts on the bargain tables.
- to lift or take up: to pick up a stone.
- to collect, especially in an orderly manner: Pick up the tools when you're finished.
- to recover (one's courage, health, etc.); regain.
- to gain by occasional opportunity; obtain casually: to pick up a livelihood.
- to learn, as by experience: I've picked up a few Japanese phrases.
- to claim: to pick up one's bags at an airport.
- to take (a person or thing) into a car or ship, etc., or along with one.
- to bring into range of reception, observation, etc.: to pick up Rome on one's radio.
- to accelerate; gain (speed).
- to put in good order; tidy: to pick up a room.
- to make progress; improve: Business is beginning to pick up.
- to catch or contract, as a disease.
- Informal. to become acquainted with informally or casually, often in hope of a sexual relationship: Let's pick up some dates tonight.
- to resume or continue after being left off: Let's pick up the discussion in our next meeting.
- Informal. to take into custody; arrest: They picked him up for vagrancy.
- Informal. to obtain; find; purchase: She picked up some nice shoes on sale.
- Slang. to steal: to pick up jewels and silver.
- to accept, as in order to pay: to pick up the check.
pick up on, Informal.
- become aware or cognizant of; be perceptive about; notice: to pick up on the hostess's hostility.
- to pay special attention to; keep an eye on: to pick up on a troubled student.
Origin of pick1
Related formspick·a·ble, adjectiveun·pick·a·ble, adjective
1. See choose.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for pick off (1 of 4)
(tr, adverb) to aim at and shoot one by one
British Dictionary definitions for pick off (2 of 4)
/ (pɪk) /
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
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
British Dictionary definitions for pick off (3 of 4)
/ (pɪk) /
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
(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 off (4 of 4)
/ (in weaving pɪk) /
(tr) to cast (a shuttle)
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 off (1 of 2)
Shoot after singling out, as in The hunter picked off the ducks one by one. [Early 1800s]
Idioms and Phrases with pick off (2 of 2)
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
- 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.