See more synonyms for picket on Thesaurus.com
  1. a post, stake, pale, or peg that is used in a fence or barrier, to fasten down a tent, etc.
  2. a person stationed by a union or the like outside a factory, store, mine, etc., in order to dissuade or prevent workers or customers from entering it during a strike.
  3. a person engaged in any similar demonstration, as against a government's policies or actions, before an embassy, office building, construction project, etc.
  4. Military. a soldier or detachment of soldiers placed on a line forward of a position to warn against an enemy advance.
  5. Navy, Air Force. an aircraft or ship performing similar sentinel duty.
verb (used with object)
  1. to enclose within a picket fence or stockade, as for protection, imprisonment, etc.: to picket a lawn; to picket captives.
  2. to fasten or tether to a picket.
  3. to place pickets in front of or around (a factory, store, mine, embassy, etc.), as during a strike or demonstration.
  4. Military.
    1. to guard, as with pickets.
    2. to post as a picket.
verb (used without object)
  1. to stand or march as a picket.

Origin of picket

From the French word piquet, dating back to 1680–90. See pike2, -et
Related formspick·et·er, nouncoun·ter·pick·et, noun, verbun·pick·et·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for picketing

blockade, demonstrate, boycott, strike

Examples from the Web for picketing

Contemporary Examples of picketing

Historical Examples of picketing

  • I was driving it home As a picketing peg for my horse, So that he should not roam.

  • After picketing the horses, a sick sergeant's horse was handed over to me.

  • Picketing the horse as Pinkey had taught him, he put the cow on a rope also.

    The Dude Wrangler

    Caroline Lockhart

  • When first the siege began, picketing was dangerous business.

  • We remained at Nolensville nearly two months, picketing and scouting.

    Terry's Texas Rangers

    Leonidas B. Giles

British Dictionary definitions for picketing


  1. a pointed stake, post, or peg that is driven into the ground to support a fence, provide a marker for surveying, etc
  2. an individual or group that stands outside an establishment to make a protest, to dissuade or prevent employees or clients from entering, etc
  3. Also: picquet a small detachment of troops or warships positioned towards the enemy to give early warning of attack
  1. to post or serve as pickets at (a factory, embassy, etc)let's go and picket the shop
  2. to guard (a main body or place) by using or acting as a picket
  3. (tr) to fasten (a horse or other animal) to a picket
  4. (tr) to fence (an area, boundary, etc) with pickets
Derived Formspicketer, noun

Word Origin for picket

C18: from French piquet, from Old French piquer to prick; see pike ²
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 picketing



1680s, "pointed stake (for defense against cavalry, etc.)," from French piquet "pointed stake," from piquer "to pierce" (see pike (n.2)). Sense of "troops posted to watch for enemy" first recorded 1761; that of "striking workers stationed to prevent others from entering a factory" is from 1867. Picket line is 1856 in the military sense, 1945 of labor strikes.



1745, "to enclose with pickets," from picket (n.). The sense in labor strikes, protests, etc., is attested from 1867. Related: Picketed; picketing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper