[ pik-uhl ]
See synonyms for: picklepickled on Thesaurus.com

  1. a cucumber that has been preserved in brine, vinegar, or the like.

  2. Often pickles . any other vegetable, as cauliflower, celery, etc., preserved in vinegar and eaten as a relish.

  1. something preserved in a brine or marinade.

  2. a liquid usually prepared with salt or vinegar for preserving or flavoring fish, meat, vegetables, etc.; brine or marinade.

  3. Metallurgy. an acid or other chemical solution in which metal objects are dipped to remove oxide scale or other adhering substances.

  4. Informal. a troublesome or awkward situation; predicament: I was in a pickle after the check bounced.

  5. Informal. a sour, disagreeable person.

verb (used with object),pick·led, pick·ling.
  1. to preserve or steep in brine or other liquid.

  2. to treat with a chemical solution, as for the purpose of cleaning.

  1. to give a pale, streaked finish to (wood) by applying and partly removing paint or by bleaching, as to give an appearance of age.

  2. Slang. to store; prepare for long-range storage: Let's pickle these old cars for a few years.

Origin of pickle

First recorded in 1400–50; late Middle English pikel, pikkel “spicy sauce or gravy,” from Middle Dutch, Middle Low German pekel(e), peeckel “brine, pickle”

Other words for pickle

Words Nearby pickle

Other definitions for pickle (2 of 2)

[ pik-uhl ]

nounScot. and North England.
  1. a single grain or kernel, as of barley or corn.

  2. a small amount; a little.

Origin of pickle

First recorded in 1545–55; of uncertain origin; perhaps noun use of pickle “to take tiny bits of food in eating,” frequentative of pick1; see -le

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use pickle in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for pickle


/ (ˈpɪkəl) /

  1. (often plural) vegetables, such as cauliflowers, onions, etc, preserved in vinegar, brine, etc

  2. any food preserved in this way

  1. a liquid or marinade, such as spiced vinegar, for preserving vegetables, meat, fish, etc

  2. mainly US and Canadian a cucumber that has been preserved and flavoured in a pickling solution, such as brine or vinegar

  3. informal an awkward or difficult situation: to be in a pickle

  4. British informal a mischievous child

  1. to preserve in a pickling liquid

  2. to immerse (a metallic object) in a liquid, such as an acid, to remove surface scale

Origin of pickle

C14: perhaps from Middle Dutch pekel; related to German Pökel brine

Derived forms of pickle

  • pickler, noun

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with pickle


see in a fix (pickle).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.