pickle

1
[pik-uhl]
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noun
  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.
  3. something preserved in a brine or marinade.
  4. a liquid usually prepared with salt or vinegar for preserving or flavoring fish, meat, vegetables, etc.; brine or marinade.
  5. Metallurgy. an acid or other chemical solution in which metal objects are dipped to remove oxide scale or other adhering substances.
  6. Informal. a troublesome or awkward situation; predicament: I was in a pickle after the check bounced.
  7. 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.
  3. to give a pale, streaked finish to (wood) by applying and partly removing paint or by bleaching, as to give an appearance of age.
  4. Slang. to store; prepare for long-range storage: Let's pickle these old cars for a few years.

Origin of pickle

1
1400–50; late Middle English pikkyll, pekille < Middle Dutch, Middle Low German pekel (> German Pökel) brine, pickle

Synonyms for pickle

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pickle

2
[pik-uh l]
noun Scot. and North England.
  1. a single grain or kernel, as of barley or corn.
  2. a small amount; a little.

Origin of pickle

2
1545–55; 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. 2018


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British Dictionary definitions for pickle

pickle

noun
  1. (often plural) vegetables, such as cauliflowers, onions, etc, preserved in vinegar, brine, etc
  2. any food preserved in this way
  3. a liquid or marinade, such as spiced vinegar, for preserving vegetables, meat, fish, etc
  4. mainly US and Canadian a cucumber that has been preserved and flavoured in a pickling solution, such as brine or vinegar
  5. informal an awkward or difficult situationto be in a pickle
  6. British informal a mischievous child
verb (tr)
  1. to preserve in a pickling liquid
  2. to immerse (a metallic object) in a liquid, such as an acid, to remove surface scale
Derived Formspickler, noun

Word Origin for pickle

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

c.1400, probably from Middle Dutch pekel "pickle, brine," or related words in Low German and East Frisian (cf. Dutch pekel, East Frisian päkel, German pökel), of uncertain origin or original meaning. Klein suggests the name of a medieval Dutch fisherman who developed the process. Originally a sauce served with meat or fowl; meaning "cucumber preserved in pickle" first recorded 1707, via use of the word for the salty liquid in which meat, etc. was preserved (c.1500). Figurative sense of "sorry plight" first recorded 1560s, from the time when the word still meant a sauce served on meat about to be eaten. Meaning "troublesome boy" is from 1788, perhaps from the notion of being "imbued" with roguery.

v.

1550s, from pickle (n.). Related: Pickled; pickling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with pickle

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.