[ pik-mee-uhp ]
/ ˈpɪk miˌʌp /
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noun Informal.
an alcoholic drink taken to restore one's energy or good spirits.
any restorative, as a snack or coffee.
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Also called pickup.

Origin of pick-me-up

First recorded in 1865–70; noun use v. of phrase pick me up
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does pick-me-up mean?

A pick-me-up is something that restores a person’s energy, improves their mood, or generally lifts their spirits, such as a caffeinated drink or a snack, as in I drink coffee every morning because I need a pick-me-up before work. 

Pick-me-ups can also involve intangible things that help boost your energy or mood, like receiving a compliment, taking a nap, taking a walk, or watching your favorite TV show after a hard day.

The term can also specifically refer to an alcoholic drink that is drunk for the purpose of restoring one’s energy or spirit.

The word pickup is sometimes used to mean the same thing as pick-me-up, but it is much less common.

Example: I could really use a pick-me-up after the terrible morning I just had.

Where does pick-me-up come from?

The first records of the term pick-me-up come from the 1860s. It is a noun usage of the verb phrase pick me up. Something that acts as a pick-me-up picks up, or gathers up, a person out of a state of low energy or spirit and puts them into a state of higher energy or spirit.

Although alcohol and caffeine are two common pick-me-ups, health experts often suggest healthier alternatives, such as going for a walk, taking a nap, meditating, or doing a hobby you enjoy. (Naps aren’t just for kids!)

The name of the dessert tiramisu is formed from the Italian phrase tira mi sù, which translates as “pick me up”—probably in reference to the fact that it’s made with multiple ingredients often considered pick-me-ups, including chocolate, coffee, and wine.

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What are some other forms related to pick-me-up?

  • pick-me-ups (plural)

What are some synonyms for pick-me-up?

What are some words that share a root or word element with pick-me-up

What are some words that often get used in discussing pick-me-up?

How is pick-me-up used in real life?

Pick-me-up is informal. It can refer to things that you consume, like drinks and snacks, or to intangible things, like a bit of good news that brightens your day.



Try using pick-me-up!

Is pick-me-up used correctly in the following sentence?

I drink tea as a pick-me-up after a tiring day.

How to use pick-me-up in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pick-me-up


informal a tonic or restorative, esp a special drink taken as a stimulant
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