Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

pick - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

verb [transitive]     pick pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
present tense
present participlepicking
past tensepicked
past participlepicked
  1. 1
    to choose someone or something from a group

    Out of all the girls he could have gone out with, he picked me.

    pick someone/something for something:

    The following season he was picked for the national squad.

    pick someone to do something:

    My friends picked me to ask the teacher.

    1. a.
      to choose the people who you want to have in a particular group

      He will pick the team for Saturday’s match tomorrow.

      I haven’t picked my team yet for the new project.

  2. 2
    to take something with your fingers

    He was on his knees picking crumbs off the carpet.

  3. 3



    pick at

    to keep pulling something with your nails

    She sits and picks the loose skin on her feet.

  4. 4
    mainly American to play a guitar or similar instrument by pulling the strings with your fingers
  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play