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


Origin of pick

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

British Dictionary definitions for pick out

pick out

verb (tr, adverb)

to select for use or special consideration, illustration, etc, as from a group
to distinguish (an object from its surroundings), as in paintingshe picked out the woodwork in white
to perceive or recognize (a person or thing previously obscured)we picked out his face among the crowd
to distinguish (sense or meaning) from or as if from a mass of detail or complication
to play (a tune) tentatively, by or as if by ear


/ (pɪk) /



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


/ (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
a plectrum


(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


/ (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

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

Idioms and Phrases with pick out

pick out


Choose, select, as in She picked out the best piece of fabric. [Early 1500s]


Distinguish, discern from one's surroundings, as in They managed to pick out their mother from the crowd. [Mid-1500s]


Identify the notes of a tune and play it on an instrument, as in When she was four she could pick out folk songs on the piano. [Late 1800s]


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.