pick1 / pik/ • v. 1. [tr.] take hold of and remove (a flower, fruit, or vegetable) from where it is growing: I went to pick some flowers for Jenny's room | [as adj.] (picked) freshly picked mushrooms. ∎ [tr.] take hold of and lift or move: he picked a match out of the box picking her up, he carried her into the next room. ∎ [intr.] (pick up) Golf lift up one's ball, esp. when conceding a hole. 2. [tr.] choose (someone or something) from a number of alternatives, typically after careful thought: maybe I picked the wrong career after all she left Jed to pick out some toys [intr.] this time, I get to pick. ∎ (pick one's way) walk slowly and carefully, selecting the best or safest places to put one's feet: he picked his way along the edge of the track, avoiding the potholes. 3. [intr.] repeatedly pull at something with one's fingers: the old woman was picking at the sheet. ∎ [tr.] make (a hole) in fabric by doing this. ∎ eat food or a meal in small amounts or without much appetite: she picked at her breakfast. ∎ criticize someone in a niggling way: now, please don't start picking at Ruth. ∎ [tr.] remove unwanted matter from (one's nose or teeth) by using one's finger or a pointed instrument. ∎ [tr.] pluck the strings of (a guitar or banjo). ∎ [tr.] (pick something out) play a tune on such an instrument slowly or with difficulty: she began to pick out a rough melody on the guitar. • n. 1. [in sing.] an act or the right of selecting something from among a group of alternatives: take your pick from our extensive menu Laura should have first pick. ∎ (the pick of) inf. the person or thing perceived as the best in a particular group: he was the pick of the bunch. ∎ someone or something that has been selected: the club made him their first pick. 2. Basketball an act of blocking or screening a defensive player from the ball handler, allowing an open shot. PHRASES: pick and choose select only the best or most desirable from among a number of alternatives. pick someone's brains (or brain) inf. obtain information by questioning someone who is better informed about a subject than oneself. pick something clean completely remove the flesh from a bone or carcass. pick one's feet up raise one's feet clear of the ground when walking. pick a fight (or quarrel) talk or behave in such a way as to provoke an argument or fight. pick holes in find fault with. pick a lock open a lock with an instrument other than the proper key. pick someone's pockets steal something surreptitiously from another person's pocket. pick someone/something to pieces (or apart) criticize someone or something severely and in detail. pick up the pieces restore one's life or a situation to a more normal state, typically after a shock or disaster. pick up speed (or steam) (of a vehicle) go faster; accelerate. pick up the threads resume something that has been interrupted.PHRASAL VERBS: pick someone/something off shoot a member of a group of people or things, aiming carefully from a distance. ∎ Baseball put out a runner by a pickoff. pick on repeatedly single (someone) out for blame, criticism, or unkind treatment in a way perceived to be unfair. pick someone/something out distinguish someone or something among a group of people or things: Lester picked out two familiar voices. ∎ (of a light) illuminate an object by shining directly on it. ∎ (usu. be picked out) distinguish shapes or letters from their surroundings by painting or fashioning them in a contrasting color or medium: the initials are picked out in diamonds. pick something over (or pick through) examine or sort through a number of items carefully: they picked through the charred remains of their home. pick up become better; improve: my luck's picked up. ∎ become stronger; increase: the wind has picked up. pick oneself up stand up again after a fall. pick someone up go somewhere to collect someone, typically in one's car and according to a prior arrangement. ∎ stop for someone and take them into one's vehicle or vessel. ∎ inf. arrest someone. ∎ inf. casually strike up a relationship with someone one has never met before, as a sexual overture. pick something up 1. collect something that has been left elsewhere: Wanda came over to pick up her things. ∎ inf. pay the bill for something, esp. when others have contributed to the expense: as usual, we had to pick up the tab. ∎ tidy a room or building. 2. obtain, acquire, or learn something, esp. without formal arrangements or instruction: he had picked up a little Russian from his father. ∎ catch an illness or infection. 3. detect or receive a signal or sound, esp. by means of electronic apparatus. ∎ (also pick up on) become aware of or sensitive to something: she is very quick to pick up emotional atmospheres. ∎ find and take a particular road or route. 4. (also pick up) resume something: they picked up their friendship without the slightest difficulty. ∎ (also pick up on) refer to or develop a point or topic mentioned earlier: Dawson picked up her earlier remark. ∎ (of an object or color) attractively accentuate the color of something else by being of a similar shade. pick up after tidy up things left strewn around by (someone).DERIVATIVES: pick·a·ble / ˈpikəbəl/ adj. pick2 • n. 1. a tool consisting of a long handle set at right angles in the middle of a curved iron or steel bar with a point at one end and a chisel edge or point at the other, used for breaking up hard ground or rock. ∎ short for ice pick. 2. an instrument for picking: an ebony hair pick. ∎ inf. a plectrum: a pink guitar pick. ∎ short for toothpick.