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Related to picked: pickled, piked, picked over, picked up
pick a bone with (someone)
To fight, quarrel, or squabble with someone, usually over a specific point. When you get in any discussions on the Internet, you'll always encounter people who pick a bone with you purely for their own twisted entertainment. This meal is awful! Where's the manager? I'm going to go pick a bone with her!
pick away at (something)
To focus on, scrutinize, or dwell upon every small or minor fault, problem, or failing of or about something. I wish the principal wouldn't pick away at the teachers like that. They're all trying to be the best teachers they can!
pick (one's) nose
1. Literally, to remove nasal mucus (i.e., "boogers") with one's finger. Tommy! Quit picking your nose, that's a filthy habit!
2. By extension, to dawdle, fool around, or waste time idly. No wonder we're losing so much money—half our staff just stands around picking their noses for most of the day!
pick (someone or something) out of a hat
To select someone or something entirely at random. I don't understand why our company is being targeted. It's as if the IRS picked us out of a hat to scrutinize! It doesn't really matter who gets promoted to assistant manager—just pick a name out of a hat for all I care!
pick up the hint
To understand, comprehend, or take notice of an indirect suggestion, implication, or insinuation. Halfway through the lecture, I picked up the hint my students were planning some kind of practical joke at the end of class. When are you going to pick up the hint that Sally doesn't want to date you anymore?
pick (something) up where (one) left off
To resume or start (something) again from the last point where one had previously stopped. If it's OK with you, I'd like to go out on a date and try to pick up where we left off! OK, now that the rain's stopped, let's pick this game up where we left off!
pick (one's) battle(s)
To choose not to participate in minor, unimportant, or overly difficult arguments, contests, or confrontations, saving one's strength instead for those that will be of greater importance or where one has a greater chance of success. As a parent, you learn to pick your battles with your kids so you don't run yourself ragged with nagging them. The best politicians pick their battles wisely: if one becomes too embroiled in petty debates, one never gets anything done.
pick up the gauntlet
To accept or attempt a challenge or invitation, as to fight, argue, or compete. When it comes to civil rights issues, Mary is always eager to pick up the gauntlet. When the heavyweight champion boasted that nobody could beat him, no one expected this newcomer to pick up the gauntlet.
pick up what (one) is putting down
slang To understand what someone is saying, especially when something is insinuated, rather than stated directly. A: "I'm going to say that I'm busy on Sunday, and I think you should too." B: "I'm picking up what you're putting down—I don't want to go to this family reunion either!" If I see you around here again, there's going to be trouble. Are you picking up what I'm putting down?
1. To choose something very carefully to ensure that the best option is chosen, perhaps through means that provide one an unfair advantage or from a selection that others do not have ready access to. I can't believe he left the company and then cherry-picked the best employee in my department! Yes, you will get to cherry-pick all the equipment that goes into your studio.
2. slang In sports such as basketball and soccer (football), to position oneself away from the current play on one's opponent's defensive end for an opportunity to receive the ball and score an easy basket or goal. We might not have gotten scored on if you had actually been playing defense instead of cherry-picking!
Fig. to choose something very carefully. (As if one were closely examining cherries on the tree, looking for the best.) We have to cherry-pick the lumber we want to use for the cabinetry. Nothing but the best will do.
pick something over
Fig. to look through something carefully, looking for something special. The shoppers who got here first picked everything over, and there is not much left. They picked over all the merchandise.
rejected; worn, dirty, or undesirable. This merchandise looks worn and picked over. I don't want any of it. Everything in the store is picked over by the end of the month.
See also: picked
pick over somethingalso pick something over
to examine a group of things carefully The boss picked over every word in Kelley's memo. She picked the strawberries over, selecting the largest ones.
to choose only the best people or things in a way that is not fair (usually in continuous tenses) Isn't there a danger that the state schools might start cherry-picking the pupils with the best exam results?
Sort out, examine item by item, as in Dad hates to pick over the beans one by one. This term is sometimes put as picked over, describing something that has already been selected from (as in They have almost nothing left; the stock of bathing suits has been picked over). [First half of 1800s]
1. To sort through something carefully: We picked over the grapes before buying them. Many of these archaeological sites have been picked over by tourists, and few artifacts remain.
2. To examine or analyze something carefully: The committee picked over the budget, looking for ways to save money.