Did you know?

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

pick up on - 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.



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.

phrasal verb [transitive]
Word Forms
present tense
I/you/we/theypick up on
he/she/itpicks up on
present participlepicking up on
past tensepicked up on
past participlepicked up on
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    pick up on something to talk in more detail about something that someone has mentioned
    I’d just like to pick up on a couple of points that you made.
  2. 2
    pick up on something to react to something that has happened or that you have noticed
    She had expected Dan to pick up on her insult.
  3. 3
    to notice something that is not very obvious
    This is something you would expect a skilled negotiator to pick up on.
  4. 4
    pick someone up on something to correct someone who has made a mistake, or to criticize them for doing something wrong
    She’s always picking me up on my grammar.
See also main entry: pick


a fashion trend in which people intentionally wear ordinary, inexpensive, widely-available clothing

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a flower or small bunch of flowers worn on the lapel of a jacket on special occasions

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