pick apart(redirected from picking someone apart)
1. To subject someone or something to intense or excessive analysis or criticism, especially in order to find flaws or negative aspects. Every time I show my brother one of my stories, he just picks it apart without saying anything that he liked about it. Critics picked his performance apart, but fans of the franchise seemed to love it.
2. To defeat, overcome, or dominate someone or something with intense, methodical power or skill. Their offense just picked us apart in the second half of the game. With its sheer size and superior equipment, the government's military was able to pick apart the rebellion in less than half a year.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
pick someone or something apart
1. Lit. to pick at and pull someone or something to pieces. The vultures attacked the hunger-weakened man and tried to pick him apart. They tried to pick apart the body. Harry picked his piece of cake apart, looking to get all the nuts out.
2. Fig. to analyze and criticize someone or something negatively. You didn't review her performance; you just picked her apart. The critics picked apart the performers.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Also, pick holes in or pick to pieces. Find flaws in something by close examination, criticize sharply, as in The lawyer picked apart the testimony, or He found it easy to pick holes in their argument, or The new editor picked her manuscript to pieces. These expressions use pick in the sense of "pierce" or "poke," a usage dating from the 1300s; pick holes in dates from the mid-1600s, pick to pieces from the mid-1800s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. To pull something or someone to pieces: The vultures picked apart the deer carcass. The children picked the bread apart, trying to remove all the raisins.
2. To find flaws in something or someone by close examination: The lawyer picked apart the witness's testimony. The candidate picked her opponent's speech apart.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.