• synonyms


  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

Examples from the Web for picnickers

Historical Examples

  • It had taken a long time for concern to spread among the picnickers.

    The Innocent Adventuress

    Mary Hastings Bradley

  • For some time the picnickers pursued their way in solemn silence.

  • They were soon eating a breakfast with the spirit of picnickers.

    Wayside Courtships

    Hamlin Garland

  • A few of the picnickers were turning their heads curiously in that direction.

    The Octopus

    Frank Norris

  • All at once the picnickers were startled by a howl of rage from Colonel Witham.

    The Rival Campers

    Ruel Perley Smith

British Dictionary definitions for picnickers


  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

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 picnickers



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 picnickers


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.