American English

Definition of pick up phrasal verb from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary


pick up

 phrasal verb
phrasal verb
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Phrasal Verbs
  1. 1to get better, stronger, etc. synonym improve Trade usually picks up in the spring. The wind is picking up now. Sales have picked up 14% this year. related noun pickup
  2. 2(informal) to start again; to continue Let's pick up where we left off yesterday.
  3. 3(informal) to put things away and make things neat, especially for someone else All I seem to do is cook, wash, and pick up after the kids.

pick up


pick something up

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to answer a phone The phone rang and rang and nobody picked up.

    pick somebodyup

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  1. 1to go somewhere in your car and get someone who is waiting for you I'll pick you up at five.
  2. 2to allow someone to get into your vehicle and take them somewhere The bus picks up passengers outside the airport.
  3. 3to rescue someone from the ocean or from a dangerous place, especially one that is difficult to reach A lifeboat picked up survivors. The stranded climbers were picked up by a rescue helicopter.
  4. 4(informal) (often disapproving) to start talking to someone you do not know because you want to have a sexual relationship with them He goes to clubs to pick up girls. related noun pickup
  5. 5(informal) (of the police) to arrest someone He was picked up by police and taken to the station for questioning.
  6. 6to make someone feel better Try this—it will pick you up. related noun pick-me-up

    pick somebody/somethingup

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  1. 1to take hold of someone or something and lift them/it up She went over to the crying child and picked her up.
  2. 2to receive an electronic signal, sound, or picture We were able to pick up Voice of America. The survivors were rescued after their sounds were picked up by a television crew's microphone.

    pick somethingup

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  1. 1to get information or a skill by chance rather than by making a deliberate effort to pick up bad habits Here's a tip I picked up from my mother. She picked up Spanish when she was living in Mexico. Where did you pick up that idea?
  2. 2to identify or recognize something Scientists can now pick up early signs of the disease.
  3. 3to get something from a place I picked up my coat from the cleaners. related noun pickup
  4. 4to buy something, especially cheaply or by chance We managed to pick up a few bargains at the auction.
  5. 5to get or obtain something I seem to have picked up a terrible cold from somewhere. I picked up $30 in tips today.
  6. 6to find and follow a route to pick up the scent of an animal We can pick up the interstate in a few miles.
  7. 7to return to an earlier subject or situation in order to continue it synonym take up He picks up this theme again in later chapters of the book. She left the band in 2006 to pick up her career as a solo performer.
  8. 8to notice something that is not very obvious; to see something that you are looking for I picked up the faint sound of a car in the distance.
  9. 9to put things away neatly Will you pick up all your toys?
  10. 10to put things away and make a room neat to pick up a room
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: pick up