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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!

pick up sticks

To relocate from one's current residence. The more I think about how much we love the coast, the more I think we should just pick up sticks and find a place near the beach.
See also: pick, stick, up

pick a fight

To act aggressively toward someone in order to provoke them. I don't know why she was so critical of me tonight—it's like she was trying to pick a fight or something.
See also: fight, pick

pick up speed

1. Literally, to begin moving faster. The sled picked up speed as it slid down the hill.
2. To become more valuable. Don't sell your house just yet—homes in this area should pick up speed in the summer.
See also: pick, speed, up

pick up the tab

To pay the bill for something, often at a bar or restaurant. Paul said he's picking up the tab tonight, so I'm definitely ordering another drink!
See also: pick, tab, up

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 a fight (with someone)

 and pick a quarrel (with someone)
to start a fight or argument with someone on purpose. Are you trying to pick a fight with me? Max intended to pick a quarrel with Lefty.
See also: fight, pick

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: over, pick

pick up speed

to increase speed. The train began to pick up speed as it went downhill. The car picked up speed as we moved into the left lane.
See also: pick, speed, up

pick up the tab

 and pick up the check
to pay the bill. Whenever we go out, my father picks up the tab. Order whatever you want. The company is picking up the check.
See also: pick, tab, up

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: over, picked

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: over, pick

pick up the gauntlet


take up the gauntlet

If you pick up the gauntlet or take up the gauntlet, you accept a challenge. Note: Gauntlets are long thick gloves which protect your hands, wrists, and forearms. Carlton, a key member of the team, was happy to pick up the gauntlet thrown down by his rival.
See also: gauntlet, pick, up

be picked out of a hat

If a name or an entry in a competition is picked out of a hat, it is chosen randomly, often by choosing a piece of paper from a container, so that each one has an equal chance of being chosen or winning. All you have to do to win is answer this question correctly and hope you get picked out of the hat. Note: Other verbs, such as draw or pull, are sometimes used instead of pick. The first 10 correct entries drawn out of the hat will win a pair of tickets, worth £20 each.
See also: hat, of, out, picked

pick up the tab

COMMON If you pick up the tab, you pay for something, often something that you are not responsible for. Pollard picked up the tab for dinner. If your girlfriend is always picking up the tab, the inequality in your relationship may be difficult for you both to handle.
See also: pick, tab, up

pick up the tab

pay for something. informal, chiefly North American
See also: pick, tab, up

pick up ˈspeed

go faster: The train began to pick up speed.
See also: pick, speed, up

pick up the ˈtab (for something)

(informal) pay the bill, especially for a group of people in a restaurant, etc: Her father picked up the tab for all the champagne at the wedding.
See also: pick, tab, up

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: over, 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.