b) To meet and collect a person from a specific location. Who's going to pick Henry up at
c) To buy something Jordan picked up some milk on the way home.
*Note that to pick up a person can also mean to meet someone, usually at a public place such as a bar or
night club, and to become sexually involved with him or her after spending only a short time together.
a) To select, to choose. Melissa picked out a shirt and brought it to the dressing room.
b) To separate from. If you break a wine glass, make sure you pick all of the glass out of the
To take the best of something and leave what is not so good. The shirts have been on
sale so long that they've really been picked over.
To tease. My sisters and brothers always picked on me because I was the youngest.
To choose from a group of something. Mrs. Stefanson picked a new assistant from the
group of applicants for the job.
a) To take only very small amounts of food. Jessica ate almost everything on her plate, but
she only picked at her peas.
b) To scratch or irritate something, such as a cut or scrape. Don't pick at that cut! Let it heal.
Pick up on.
To understand something, especially something that isn't intended to be understood.
They spoke in Spanish in front of Dorothy, so she didn't pick up on what they were
*Note that pick up, pick out, pick from, and pick over are separable. This means the two words can be
separated and a pronoun or noun can be inserted between them. Billy picked out the raisins or Billy picked
them/the raisins out, but not Billy picked out them. Pick on, pick at, and pick up on are not separable. You
cannot separate the verbs from the prepositions.