See also: pickup, Pickup, and pick-up

English edit

Pronunciation edit

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Verb edit

pick up (third-person singular simple present picks up, present participle picking up, simple past and past participle picked up)

A man attempting to pick up large weights.
  1. (transitive) To lift; to grasp and raise.
    Antonym: put down
    When you pick up the bag, make sure to support the bottom.
  2. (transitive) To collect an object, especially in passing.
    Antonym: drop off
    Can you pick up a pint of milk on your way home?
    • 1909, Archibald Marshall [pseudonym; Arthur Hammond Marshall], chapter II, in The Squire’s Daughter, New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, published 1919, →OCLC:
      "I don't want to spoil any comparison you are going to make," said Jim, "but I was at Winchester and New College." ¶ "That will do," said Mackenzie. "I was dragged up at the workhouse school till I was twelve. Then I ran away and sold papers in the streets, and anything else that I could pick up a few coppers by—except steal. []"
  3. (transitive) To acquire (something) accidentally; to catch (a disease).
    • 2020 April 16, Thom Dunn, Rik Paul, “How to Wash and Detail a Car the Right Way”, in The New York TimesWirecutter[1]:
      Cars often pick up bits of road tar and asphalt, dried bugs, tree sap, or other debris that’s hard to remove with regular car wash soap.
    • 2022 September 29, Carl Zimmer, “A New Approach to Spotting Tumors: Look for Their Microbes”, in The New York Times[2]:
      We are constantly being exposed to fungi, whether by picking up spores on our skin or eating food on which fungi are hitchhiking. Most of them won’t take up residence in our bodies.
    I picked up a cold on my trip last week.
  4. (transitive or intransitive) To clean up; to return to an organized state.
    Antonym: mess up
    Aren't you going to pick up after yourself?
    • 1967, Beverly Cleary, Mitch and Amy, HarperCollins, published 2009, →ISBN, page 28:
      The floor was strewn with bright snips of origami paper, a crumpled drawing, and one dirty sock, which Amy now shoved under the bed with her foot. ¶ "You're lucky," said Marla. "My mother makes me pick up my room every single day."
  5. (transitive) To collect a passenger.
    Antonym: drop off
    I'll pick you up outside the library.
    • 2023 August 23, Pip Dunn, “The last bastion of the HST 'Castles'”, in RAIL, number 990, page 49:
      After picking up a few passengers (most likely heading into Exeter for shopping) and setting a few off (for a day at the beach), we get the 'right away' and continue along the sea wall with its iconic sandstone cliffs on the left.
  6. (transitive) To collect and detain (a suspect).
    The cops have picked up the man they were looking for.
  7. (transitive, media) To obtain and publish a story, news item, etc.
    The story does not seem to have been widely picked up.
    • 2019, Li Huang, James Lambert, “Another Arrow for the Quiver: A New Methodology for Multilingual Researchers”, in Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, →DOI, page 3:
      News of this notice from the university was picked up by local media and had the effect of raising the ire of some citizens who saw this as an attack on ‘Chinese heritage’[.]
  8. (intransitive) To improve, increase, or speed up.
    Prices seem to be picking up again.
    I was in bed sick this morning, but I'm picking up now.
  9. (intransitive) To restart or resume.
    Let's pick up where we left off yesterday.
    • 2023 March 14, Caryn James, “John Wick: Chapter 4: 'Soars above most action films'”, in BBC[3]:
      The plot picks up where the last film left off. The High Table, the organisation that controls crime around the world, has a multi-million-dollar contract out on Wick, who killed a High Table member.
    • 2012 July 18, Scott Tobias, AV Club, The Dark Knight Rises[4]:
      Picking up eight years after The Dark Knight left off, the film finds Gotham enjoying a tenuous peace based on Harvey Dent’s moral ideals rather than the ugly truth of his demise.
  10. (transitive) To learn, to grasp; to begin to understand; to realize.
    Synonym: learn
    It looks complicated, but you'll soon pick it up.
  11. (transitive) To receive (a radio signal or the like).
    With the new antenna, I can pick up stations all the way from Omaha.
  12. (transitive) To notice, detect or discern; to pick up on
    Did you pick up his nervousness?
  13. (transitive) To point out the behaviour, habits, or actions of (a person) in a critical manner; used with on.
    She's always picking me up on my grammar.
  14. (transitive and intransitive with on) To meet and seduce somebody for romantic purposes, especially in a social situation.
    Synonyms: (Polari) blag, hit on, rizz up, take up
    He was in the fabric store not to buy fabric but to pick up women.
    • 2016 May 23, Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, “Apocalypse pits the strengths of the X-Men series against the weaknesses”, in The Onion AV Club[5]:
      Xavier—first seen as an adult in First Class trying to pick up a woman in a bar—is impotent, at least metaphorically, and will eventually see all of his luxuriant hair fall out.
  15. (transitive or intransitive) To answer a telephone.
    Synonym: pick up the phone
    I'm calling him, but he just isn't picking up!
  16. (intransitive, of a phone) To receive calls; to function correctly.
    I've tried his home number a couple times, but it isn't picking up.
  17. To pay for.
    The company will pick up lunch with customers for sales calls.
  18. To reduce the despondency of.
  19. To take control (physically) of something.
    • 2010 December 29, Chris Whyatt, “Chelsea 1-0 Bolton”, in BBC:
      Bolton were then just inches from taking the lead, but the dangerous-looking Taylor drilled just wide after picking up a loose ball following Jose Bosingwa's poor attempted clearance.
  20. (soccer) To mark, to defend against an opposition player by following them closely.
    • 2011 January 18, David Dulin, “Cardiff 0-2 Stoke”, in BBC:
      And soon after, no-one picked up Shotton who was free to power a 12-yard header over from another Pennant corner, before Pennant sent a free kick straight at Cardiff keeper Tom Heaton.
  21. To record; to notch up.
    • 2011 September 28, Tom Rostance, “Arsenal 2-1 Olympiakos”, in BBC Sport:
      And the home side survived without any late scares to pick up the first win of their Group F campaign.
  22. (sports) To behave in a manner that results in a foul. (Can we add an example for this sense?)
  23. (US, military, transitive) To promote somebody who was previously passed over.
    • 1937, United States. Congress. Senate, Hearings, volume 2, page 141:
      [] there are now 98 officers of that rank who have been passed over one or more times, most of whom have little prospect of being picked up by future selection boards but will await only the completion of 21 years' service before going on the retired list.
    • 1938, United States. Congress. House. Committee on Naval Affairs, Hearings on H.R. 9997 to Regulate the Distribution, Promotion, and Retirement of Officers of the Line of the Navy and for Other Purposes, page 3239:
      The list is about the same as when each class was commissioned, except for a small percentage who were passed over once or twice and then picked up.

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Noun edit

pick up (plural pick ups)

  1. Rare form of pickup.

Derived terms edit

Translations edit