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See more synonyms for picnic on Thesaurus.com
  1. an excursion or outing in which the participants carry food with them and share a meal in the open air.
  2. the food eaten on such an excursion.
  3. Also called picnic ham, picnic shoulder. a section of pork shoulder, usually boned, smoked, and weighing 4–6 pounds.Compare daisy(def 2).
  4. Informal. an enjoyable experience or time, easy task, etc.: Being laid up in a hospital is no picnic.
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verb (used without object), pic·nicked, pic·nick·ing.
  1. to go on or take part in a picnic.
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Origin of picnic

1740–50; < German Pic-nic (now Picknick) < French pique-nique, rhyming compound < ?
Related formspic·nick·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for picnic

barbecue, outing, excursion, cookout, clambake, walkover, pushover, lark, breeze, cinch, snap, setup

Examples from the Web for picnic

Contemporary Examples of picnic

Historical Examples of picnic

  • I brought her out here for a trolley ride and a picnic luncheon.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • You tell the boys that if I find this street scrawled over any more, the picnic's off.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • Two dollars for a scholars' picnic in a place where no child is supposed to have money.

  • She never missed a picnic to Annandale, the Waterfalls, or Mashobra.

  • Would a Sunday-school picnic constitute a bribe worth mentioning?

    Meadow Grass

    Alice Brown

British Dictionary definitions for picnic


  1. a trip or excursion to the country, seaside, etc, on which people bring food to be eaten in the open air
    1. any informal meal eaten outside
    2. (as modifier)a picnic lunch
  2. informal, mainly Australian a troublesome situation or experience
  3. no picnic informal a hard or disagreeable task
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verb -nics, -nicking or -nicked
  1. (intr) to eat a picnic
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Derived Formspicnicker, noun

Word Origin for picnic

C18: from French piquenique, of unknown origin
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 picnic


1748 (in Chesterfield's "Letters"), but rare before c.1800 as an English institution; originally a fashionable pot-luck social affair, not necessarily out of doors; from French piquenique (1690s), perhaps a reduplication of piquer "to pick, peck," from Old French (see pike (n.2)), or the second element may be nique "worthless thing," from a Germanic source. Figurative sense of "something easy" is from 1886. Picnic table recorded from 1926, originally a folding table.

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"go on a picnic," 1842, from picnic (n.). Related: Picnicked; picnicking. The -k- is inserted to preserve the "k" sound of -c- before a suffix beginning in -i-, -y-, or -e- (cf. traffic/trafficking, panic/panicky, shellac/shellacked).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with picnic


see no picnic.

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