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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!
See also: bone, pick

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!
See also: away, pick

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!
See also: nose, pick

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!
See also: hat, of, out, pick

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?
See also: hint, pick, up

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!
See also: left, off, pick, up

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.
See also: pick

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.
See also: gauntlet, pick, up

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?
See also: down, pick, put, up, what


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!

cherry-pick something

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.
See also: pick

picked over

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 something

also 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.
See also: pick

cherry-pick somebody/something

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?

pick over

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]
See also: pick

pick over

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.
See also: pick
References in periodicals archive ?
3121(v)(1)(B) to reflect that any employee contributions picked up by the employer pursuant to a salary reduction agreement were FICA wages.
3 -- color in AV edition only) Allison Byers, 7, of Quartz Hill samples a freshly picked cherry from Hobart's.
Verio (NASDAQ:VRIO) jumped 93% in 17 days, Aspect Communications (NASDAQ:ASPT) picked up 77% in 23 days, Interleaf (NASDAQ:LEAF) rose 75% in 17 days and Leap Wireless International (NASDAQ:LWIN) improved 63% in 22 days.
The Canoga Park woman and hundreds of others picked Valencia oranges and white grapefruit during the weekend at Orcutt Ranch, one of the last remaining orchards in the San Fernando Valley.
The orthopedic and burn patients - some in wheelchairs or on crutches - picked more than 50 pounds of fruit at the Blackburn Cherry Ranch with the help of Antelope Valley Shriners and hospital staff.
I picked Danny because he's shown with the under-23's that he can play.
The Los Angeles float is picked by the Convention and Visitor's Bureau.
Last week, Bengals cornerback Artrell Hawkins picked up a Mark Brunell fumble at the Jaguars' 40-yard line and started down the sideline.
3--Color) After the Clippers picked the Nigerian, Vancouver grabbed Bibby as the second pick.
PITTSBURGH: Got projected first-rounder DT Jeremy Staat in Round 2; Picked G Alan Faneca (first), who could start next season.
Just down the road in another field near Ventura, a similar group picked broccoli.
Readers also picked Balboa Park as a favorite haunt for their four-legged friends
At the Tierra Rejada Family Farms in Moorpark this weekend, hundreds of Italians from all parts of Southern California gathered for the first crop of Romas ready to be picked.
Ifeanyi was picked in the second round last year - the 49ers had traded away their 1996 first-round pick to Cleveland (now Baltimore) as part of the deal to obtain UCLA's J.
It's just good to hear that I was picked by somebody,'' said Koy Detmer, picked by the Eagles in the seventh round, with the 207th pick overall.