pick up on


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pick up on (something)

To detect or notice something; to become alert to or aware of something. There are a lot of mature jokes in this cartoon that I never picked up on as a kid. Did you pick up on the hostility between Jen and Tom? The cops picked up on his suspicious behavior straight away.
See also: on, pick, up

pick up on something

to become alert to something; to take notice of something; to learn or catch on to something. She's real sharp. She picks up on everything. The cop picked up on the car with the expired license plates.
See also: on, pick, up

pick up on

Become aware of, notice, as in The teacher picked up on her nervousness right away. [Colloquial; mid-1900s]
See also: on, pick, up

pick up on

Informal
1. To take into the mind and understand, typically with speed: is quick to pick up on new computer skills.
2. To notice: picked up on my roommate's bad mood and left him alone.
See also: on, pick, up