pick of the litter

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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 ?
Owner: KSS Syndicate 4 King Lennon Rab McNair I think this pup and Queen Beyonce are the pick of the litter. He clocked a flying 27.67sec in a trial at Monmore in September and he's shown me everything to suggest he has so much potential.
A COVENTRY primary school has proved it is the pick of the litter after taking on a mission to clean up the city's canal.
"You get the pick of the litter and you got yourself a pretty good bird dog.
Humphrey has now pulled off the impressive feat of winning four races on the bounce at her small-time yard in West Wratting, near Cambridge, from where Carpincho looks the pick of the litter.
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.
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.
The Pick of the Litter gallery will hold an open house featuring art, collectibles and antiques from 6 p.m.
These innovative methods are becoming the pick of the litter for employers due to the current skilled trades shortage.
We had the pick of the litter. We took Millie home when she was eight weeks.
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.