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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary
pick up

early 14c. as a verbal phrase, "lift and take," from pick (v.) + up (adv.). Of persons, "make acquaintance or take along," especially for sexual purposes, 1690s. Meaning "cause (someone) to revive" is from 1857. Sense of "tidy up" is from 1861; that of "arrest" is from 1871; meaning "gain speed" is from 1922; meaning "to pay" (a check, tab, etc.) is from 1945. Pick-me-up "stimulating alcoholic drink" is attested from 1867.

pick up

n. (cx rare English) (alternative form of pickup English) vb. 1 (lb en transitive) To lift; to grasp and raise. 2 (lb en transitive) To collect an object, especially in passing. 3 (lb en transitive or intransitive) To clean up; to return to an organized state. 4 (lb en transitive) To collect a passenger. 5 (lb en transitive) To collect and detain (a suspect). 6 (lb en intransitive) To improve, increase(,) or speed up. 7 (lb en intransitive) To restart or resume. 8 (lb en transitive) To learn, to grasp; to begin to understand. 9 (lb en transitive) To receive (a radio signal or the like). 10 (lb en transitive and intransitive with '''on''' by extension) To notice, detect or discern, often used with "on". 11 (lb en transitive) To point out (a person's behaviour, habits(,) or actions) in a critical manner. 12 (lb en transitive and intransitive with '''on''') To meet and seduce somebody for romantic purposes, especially in a social situation. 13 (lb en transitive or intransitive) To answer a telephone. See pick up the phone. 14 To pay for. 15 To reduce the despondency of. 16 To take control (physically) of something.

pick up
  1. v. take and lift upward [syn: lift up, gather up]

  2. take up by hand; "He picked up the book and started to read"

  3. give a passenger or a hitchhiker a lift; "We picked up a hitchhiker on the highway"

  4. gather or collect; "You can get the results on Monday"; "She picked up the children at the day care center"; "They pick up our trash twice a week" [syn: collect, gather up, call for]

  5. get to know or become aware of, usually accidentally; "I learned that she has two grown-up children"; "I see that you have been promoted" [syn: learn, hear, get word, get wind, find out, get a line, discover, see]

  6. get in addition, as an increase; "The candidate picked up thousands of votes after his visit to the nursing home"

  7. take into custody; "the police nabbed the suspected criminals" [syn: collar, nail, apprehend, arrest, nab, cop]

  8. buy casually or spontaneously; "I picked up some food for a snack"

  9. recieve (perceptual input); "pick up a signal" [syn: receive]

  10. lift out or reflect from a background; "The scarf picks up the color of the skirt"; "His eyes picked up his smile"

  11. meet someone for sexual purposes; "he always tries to pick up girls in bars"

  12. fill with high spirits; fill with optimism; "Music can uplift your spirits" [syn: elate, lift up, uplift, intoxicate] [ant: depress]

  13. get better; "Her performance in school picked up" [syn: turn around]

  14. perceive with the senses quickly, suddenly, or momentarily; "I caught the aroma of coffee"; "He caught the allusion in her glance"; "ears open to catch every sound"; "The dog picked up the scent"; "Catch a glimpse" [syn: catch]

  15. eat by pecking at, like a bird [syn: peck]

  16. gain or regain energy; "I picked up after a nap" [syn: perk up, perk, percolate, gain vigor]

Pick Up (album)

Pick Up is the second full-length album from Amsterdam-based artist Solex. It was released as follow-up to Solex Vs. the Hitmeister on 14 September 1999 on the Matador Records label. The album has a more complex sound than the debut and features several live instruments, next to the samples on which the music is still based.

Usage examples of "pick up".

There we are to pick up a small parcel of very important cargo, the loading of which is to be strictly supervised by the local authorities.

I want them to pick up the hearse at Clay's and stay with it, but not too close.

Sammy just hoped that Claire did not pick up on this with her magic perception.

And then add-drop was over and it was either go for it or pick up an incomplete.

So he rented a truck and drove to Richmond to pick up the cartons of cigarettes.

I was going to pick up my Social Security check tonight and get a hotel room somewhere, but Edna showed up with the two clowns.

Later she saw what Della Wetherby had meant in her letter, for when the house was reached, it came as a distinct shock to her to see Jamie pick up his crutches and swing himself out of the carriage with their aid.

When they were done defending themselves from the skimmers' vengeful assaults, both physical and legal, Dragon Lady Enterprises was able to pick up the remains for a song.

Important opportunities to pick up information and apply it spontaneously to the task at hand are lost, and the probability of success in whatever the endeavor declines substantially.