pick of the litter


Also found in: Acronyms, Wikipedia.

pick of the litter

The best or most ideal option in a group. (A "litter" is a group of newborn mammals, especially puppies or kittens.) Matt is the pick of the litter, so we need to make sure he ends up on our team. I know you think that puppy is too small, but to me he's just the pick of the litter!
See also: litter, of, pick

pick of the litter

The best of a group, as in He was first in the ticket line so he had the pick of the litter. This term, alluding to the most desirable one from a litter of puppies or kittens, supplanted such earlier variants as pick of the market, pick of the parish, and pick of the basket. [Early 1900s]
See also: litter, of, pick

pick of the litter, the

The best of the lot. Versions of this term have been around in various forms for a long time—from the pick of the market and pick of the parish to the pick of the basket (all nineteenth century) and pick of the bunch (twentieth century). The cliché alludes to selecting the most desirable from a litter of puppies.
See also: of, pick
References in periodicals archive ?
"Pick of the Litter," Dana Nachman and Don Hardy's fourth documentary as co-directors, traces two years of training that these five Labradors go through to qualify as the Green Berets of the canine world: guide dogs for the blind.
She thinks of her own losses: a love she squandered once; a mother and father who mourned each other all their married life; a terrier, the pick of the litter. In the morning walking to the bus stop, April flourishing around her, she'll mourn the new green leaves with scarcely half a year left in them.
Legendary owner JP McManus has many exciting novices this term, but this French-bred could be the pick of the litter.
Godolphin saddle three runners in the one-mile Listed heat in Yorkshire, but this promising colt looks the pick of the litter.
Sayings include: It's a Boy; It's a Girl; Pick of the Litter; Golf Fanatic; Fishing Fanatic; All Star; Best Friends; and Travel Memories.
The lucky ones will be chosen as the pick of the litter to become serving dogs with West Midlands Police..
Harvard undergraduates will always do well because Harvard takes only the pick of the litter. The writer laments that his alma mater does not do more for such able students to further their general education.
We let her have pick of the litter, and she went right for Colt.
At Pick of the Litter, a consignment shop and gallery opened this spring by the Willamette Animal Guild, you have to expect the eclectic.
These innovative methods are becoming the pick of the litter for employers due to the current skilled trades shortage.
Unfortunately, the pick of the litter picked had a congenital defect.
Urban districts go begging for teachers, while suburban districts, with higher salaries and fewer problems, have the pick of the litter. As Miller suggests, the federal government could correct that market failure by offering a salary hike to good teachers willing to teach in tough places.
* When there are 10 buyers and three puppies, every dog is the pick of the litter.
And, having recently enjoyed a transfer to Off-Broadway's American Place Theatre, this Runt just might grow up to be the pick of the litter.