American English

Definition of pick verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary

      

    pick

     verb
    verb
    NAmE//pɪk//
     
    Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they pick
     
    he / she / it picks
     
    past simple picked
     
    -ing form picking
     
     
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  1. 1[transitive] to choose someone or something from a group of people or things pick somebody/something Pick a number from one to twenty. She picked the best cake for herself. He picked his words carefully. Have I picked a bad time to talk to you? pick somebody/something to do something He has been picked to play in this week's game. see also handpicked Thesauruschooseselect pick decide opt go for somethingThese words all mean to decide which thing or person you want out of the ones that are available.choose to decide which thing or person you want out of the ones that are available:I can't decide—you choose.select [often passive] (formal) to choose a person or thing, usually carefully, from a group of people or things:He was selected for the team. a randomly selected sample of 23 schoolspick (somewhat informal) to choose a person or thing from a group of people or things:Pick a number between one and ten.choose, select, or pick?Choose is the most general of these words and the only one that can be used without an object. When you select something, you choose it carefully, unless you actually say that it is selected randomly/at random. Pick is a more informal word and often a less careful action, used especially when the choice being made is not very important.decide to choose between two or more possibilities:We're still trying to decide on a movie.opt to choose to take or not to take a particular course of action:After graduating, she opted for a career in music. After a lot of thought, I opted against buying a motorcycle.go for something (somewhat informal) to choose something:I think I'll go for the fruit salad.Patterns to choose/pick/decide between A and/or B to choose/select/pick A from B to opt/go for somebody/something to choose/decide/opt to do something to choose/select/pick somebody/something carefully/at random randomly chosen/selected/picked
  2. 2[transitive] pick something to take flowers, fruit, etc. from the plant or the tree where they are growing to pick grapes flowers freshly picked from the garden to go blackberry picking
  3. 3[transitive] to pull or remove something or small pieces of something from something else, especially with your fingers pick something + adv./prep. She picked bits of fluff from his sweater. He picked the nuts off the top of the cake. pick something to pick your nose (= put your finger inside your nose to remove dried mucus ) to pick your teeth (= use a small sharp piece of wood to remove pieces of food from your teeth) pick something + adj. The dogs picked the bones clean (= ate all the meat from the bones).
  4. 4 [intransitive, transitive] pick (something) = pluck
  5. Idioms
    have a bone to pick with somebody (informal)
     
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    to be angry with someone about something and want to discuss it with them
    pick and choose
     
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    to choose only those things that you like or want very much You have to take any job you can get—you can't pick and choose.
    pick somebody's brains (informal)
     
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    to ask someone a lot of questions about something because they know more about the subject than you do
    pick a fight/quarrel (with somebody)
     
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    to deliberately start a fight or an argument with someone He drank too much and was ready to pick a fight with anyone who crossed his path.
    pick/poke/punch holes in something
     
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    to find the weak points in something such as a plan, suggestion, etc. It was easy to pick holes in his arguments.
    pick a lock
     
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    to open a lock without a key, using something such as a piece of wire The burglars must have picked the lock on the back door.
    pick somebody's pocket
     
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    to steal something from someone's pocket without them noticing The back pocket on a pair of jeans is the easiest one to pick. related noun pickpocket
    pick/pull/tear somebody/something to pieces/shreds (informal)
     
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    to criticize someone, or their work or ideas, very severely
    pick/pull/tear somebody/something to pieces/shreds (informal)
     
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    to criticize someone, or their work or ideas, very severely
    pick up the bill, tab, etc. (for something) (informal)
     
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    to pay for something The company picked up the tab for his hotel room.
    pick up the pieces
     
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    to return or to help someone return to a normal situation, particularly after a shock or a disaster You cannot live your children's lives for them; you can only be there to pick up the pieces when things go wrong.
    pick up speed
     
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    to go faster The train began to pick up speed.
      pick up steam
       
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    1. 1(informal) to become gradually more powerful, active, etc. His election campaign is beginning to pick up steam.
    2. 2(of a vehicle) to increase speed gradually
    pick up the threads
     
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    to return to an earlier situation or way of life after an interruption
    pick your way (across, along, among, over, through something)
     
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    to walk carefully, choosing the safest, driest, etc. place to put your feet She picked her way delicately over the rough ground.
      pick a winner
       
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    1. 1to choose a horse, etc. that you think is most likely to win a race
    2. 2(informal) to make a very good choice
    Phrasal Verbspick at somethingpick somebodyoffpick somethingoffpick on somebody/somethingpick somebody/somethingoutpick somethingoutpick somethingoverpick uppick uppick somebodyuppick somebody/somethinguppick somethinguppick up on somethingpick yourself up
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: pick