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 forms

pick·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 on (1 of 4)

pick on


verb

(tr, preposition) to select (someone) for something unpleasant, esp in order to bully, blame, or cause to perform a distasteful task

British Dictionary definitions for pick on (2 of 4)

pick

1
/ (pɪk) /

verb

noun

Derived Forms

pickable, 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 on (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 on (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 on (1 of 2)

pick on


Tease, bully, victimize, as in She told Mom the boys were always picking on her. [Second half of 1800s] This expression is sometimes put as pick on someone your own size, meaning “don't badger someone who is younger, smaller, or weaker than yourself but do so only to an equal.”

Idioms and Phrases with pick on (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.