Definition of pick something up in English:

pick something up

phrasal verb

  • 1Collect something that has been left elsewhere.

    ‘Wanda came over to pick up her things’
    • ‘If your magic runs a bit short, you can order a copy from the local bookstore, and the hotel will pick it up and deliver it to you after midnight.’
    • ‘I'm afraid she doesn't work here anymore, just this morning she came to pick up her things.’
    • ‘But by the time they went to pick up the suitcase, it could not be found.’
    • ‘I was emailed to pick it up from another building.’
    • ‘Whilst we sat waiting for our food to arrive, a steady stream of customers came to pick up take-away orders.’
    • ‘Then her father came to pick up her things - her clothes, tennis shoes, a bottle of mineral water.’
    • ‘Anyway, they came to pick up her things that were stored in the basement this summer.’
    • ‘Once you have obtained your ticket, your luggage will be picked up shortly.’
    • ‘He would have had to hire a private contractor to come pick that stuff up.’
    • ‘He just came to pick up his things - and to give Brooke back his wedding ring!’
    • ‘When she came to pick up her things I made her some lunch and we had a little chat.’
    • ‘His brother picked it up and delivered it to him within moments.’
    • ‘But one day when I came to pick up my things they weren't there. There was nothing there, no sign of them anywhere.’
    • ‘I wish I could have personally met you when I came to pick up the suitcase on Tuesday.’
    • ‘‘They told me to take the bag home and they informed Royal Mail, who came and picked it up,’ she said.’
  • 2Obtain, acquire, or learn something, especially in an informal way.

    ‘he had picked up a little Russian from his father’
    • ‘They also learn very quickly and easily pick things up.’
    • ‘Coming from a keyboard, having learned to read, once I picked it up and learned how to blow it, the music came quicker.’
    • ‘He picked it up quickly - watched a lot of TV and learnt to read English.’
    • ‘She was all right with it when her girlfriends found out but she was not too comfortable now that unfamiliar people around her were picking this information up.’
    • ‘I started to learn Thai, I just seem to pick it up and now can speak it pretty well.’
    • ‘Vic had learned to drive at fourteen, from his old man, and had picked it up as easily as fishes learn to swim.’
    • ‘Posters around the village give details of the events and information where competition forms can be picked up.’
    • ‘He picked it up quickly, learning by himself because he thought it was fun.’
    • ‘He has certainly picked things up quicker than I imagined.’
    • ‘It's the only way to learn and it's amazing how quickly you can pick it up.’
    find, discover, locate, come across, stumble across, happen on, chance on, unearth, obtain, come by, come to have, get, receive, procure
    learn, get to know, acquire, acquire a knowledge of, acquire skill in, become competent in, become proficient in, master
    hear, hear tell, find out, get to know, get wind of, be informed of, be told, learn, be made aware of, be given to understand
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    1. 2.1 Catch an illness or infection.
      ‘I've picked up some kind of flu bug’
      • ‘They in turn will multiply the infection and the later lambs to pick it up will become very badly infected.’
      • ‘The mosquitoes pick the virus up from biting infected pigs or waterfowl and then pass the virus on when they bite humans.’
      • ‘Meningococcal meningitis vaccines is also required by the authorities as these infections can be picked up from fellow travellers (carriers).’
      • ‘For every patient and their family there is no acceptable level of MRSA but we all know that when people are in an acute hospital system, there is a chance that an infection can be picked up.’
      • ‘Many new cases are picked up by men sleeping with infected prostitutes in places like Thailand, where the virus is rife.’
      • ‘Once chlamydia has been successfully treated, it won't come back unless a new infection is picked up.’
      • ‘But she is very susceptible to infections and if she were to pick something up then it could be fatal.’
      • ‘Previously worn and dirty clothes contain the same foul odour producing bacteria and you will pick the infection up again within seconds of contact.’
      • ‘Some infections can be picked up by pregnant women and transferred to the developing baby via the placenta.’
      • ‘Any infection or disease present in the slurry can be picked up by these people and animals in the course of their headlong, indiscriminate rush to the killing scene.’
      catch, contract, get, become infected with, become ill with, come down with, go down with
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  • 3Detect or receive a signal or sound, especially by means of electronic apparatus.

    ‘we've picked up a distress signal’
    ‘the animals had picked up their scent and were following their trail’
    • ‘The reflected sound waves are picked up by the crystal element and transformed back into electric signals.’
    • ‘One of its benefits will be anyone sending distress signals from land or sea will know immediately if their signal has been picked up.’
    • ‘The signals were picked up late yesterday after an all-day search for the spacecraft, which had suddenly stopped communicating after its launch, the US scientists had said.’
    • ‘The reflected signals are picked up by microphones in the cane handle, processed by a miniature computer, then converted into pulses which the user can feel through his hand.’
    • ‘It amplifies them, and sends them out, just like a radio, and the receiver picks them up in the other person ear.’
    • ‘These signals are picked up by a computer and turned into detailed pictures.’
    • ‘These signals are picked up by a handheld receiver.’
    • ‘The air force forced a light plane to land on Saturday after an emergency signal was picked up indicating the aircraft had been hijacked.’
    • ‘These electromagnetic waves are picked up by your car's antenna and then converted into recognizable noise - music, talk shows, and the like - by the tuner.’
    • ‘Of the 18 access points whose signals were picked up, 13 were sending unencrypted messages.’
    receive, detect, get, hear
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    1. 3.1also pick up on Become aware of or sensitive to something.
      ‘women are very quick to pick up emotional atmospheres’
      • ‘She's pretty sensitive at picking these things up.’
      • ‘The penalty for misclassifying a genotoxic compound (false negatives that reflect low sensitivity) is low as it would be picked up in the later regulatory test.’
      • ‘Children pick up on stress so if you're unhappy, they will be too.’
      • ‘A lot of infections can be picked up very early.’
      • ‘The faster these changes are picked up the quicker you will be able to react to drops in rankings.’
      • ‘Body work performed on owners and pets works well because animals pick up on stress and often mimic their owners.’
      • ‘Babies and toddlers do pick up on stress in the home and often act out what they are unable to put into words.’
      • ‘The problems were picked up when an infection control nurse, who started work with the PCT this spring, examined procedures at the surgery.’
      • ‘Sufferers normally have a one-in-three chance of survival, depending on how early the symptoms are picked up.’
      • ‘These emotions can be picked up; dogs smell fear, a child knows if it is loved or not, and so forth.’
  • 4also pick up onResume something.

    ‘they picked up their friendship without the slightest difficulty’
    • ‘The evening ended with a good-night kiss, and they quickly picked up their relationship where they'd left off. "We fell in love all over again," Dave says.’
    • ‘Last year they had a falling out but in the past few months had made amends with each other and picked up their friendship where they had left off.’
    • ‘The two young men were acquainted with each other and picked up their friendship again Sunday.’
    • ‘I didn't get a chance to finish it but I think I'll pick it up soon.’
    • ‘They laughed about their shared affection for Martinis and picked up their friendship where they'd left off.’
    • ‘They picked up their relationship almost from where they'd left off, but it wasn't the same.’
    begin again, begin, take up, start again, start, resume, recommence, carry on, go on, continue
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    1. 4.1also pick up on Refer to or develop a point mentioned earlier.
      ‘Dawson picked up her earlier remark’
      • ‘He picked up his remark, replying "Yes, taking care of eight children is a man sized job."’
      • ‘I realise that some people have been frustrated that their particular concerns have not been picked up on, but a number of the issues raised were important but were not within the scope of the bill.’
      • ‘Soon after, the Melbourne Age reported on the lone refugee's plight, and the story was picked up widely.’
      • ‘I am appalled this issue was not picked up on in the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee.’
      • ‘Someone here other than us has finally picked this story up.’
      • ‘I think it's interesting what traditions are picked up on and what countries are referenced in that.’
      • ‘He picked up on a story that had been on ABC News two days earlier.’
      • ‘Often in things like this, one journalist builds a list of instances, and then it gets flipped from story to story as other journalists pick it up.’
      • ‘And given the scientist adherence to a kind of Creative Commons ethos, their developments could be picked up and expanded upon by anyone in those fields, but no one could actually own the development itself.’
      • ‘The press picked up his remark and on the front page of the newspaper the next day, I was depicted in a cartoon.’
      • ‘When these inaccuracies were picked up on by the blog community and exposed by several news outlets, the story was removed from the News web site.’
      • ‘But my sister made a very moving speech and picked it up on my behalf.’
      • ‘A lot of the Cultural Commission's recommendations have been picked up and used.’
      • ‘For when he did make an outrageous remark it was picked up on, and he was fired within hours.’
      • ‘Those things have not been picked up on because we are in Opposition, and they are what anybody would expect to hear from an Opposition.’
  • 5informal Pay the bill for something.

    ‘an argument over who would pick up the cheque’
    • ‘Unlike the board, whose legal bills are picked up by the public, opponents of school closings often run out of money to continue their fights.’
    • ‘It is understood around €3 million has been incurred by the aviation regulator's office, whose costs will be picked up by the authorities in addition to its own bill.’
    • ‘So there's a sort of change in the attitude towards social welfare in the sense that people believe that they're being forced to pick that bill up, but generally people felt that more money should be available.’
    • ‘In which event, any medical bills will be picked up by the taxpayer, not by the company.’
    • ‘The rest of the bill is picked up by private insurance companies who decide what they'll pay in their corporate boardrooms.’
    • ‘The bills were picked up by some of the biggest names in the business world.’
    • ‘Who picked up the tab for his childhood immunisations and his education?’
    • ‘She added: "In line with 'polluter pays' principle it's time the tobacco companies picked up the tab for the harm their products are doing."’
    • ‘But the Council is £200,000 in the red, the executive committee heard yesterday, and if that is still the case next year the bill will be picked up by the authority.’
    • ‘When they played well, he handed out cash bonuses and picked up bar tabs. When they lost, he still picked up the tab.’
  • 6Find and take a particular road or route.

    ‘they veered left and picked up the road which ran alongside the river’
    • ‘I dropped down into Balmaha, which seemed to be mostly closed, and picked up the road heading North alongside the Loch.’
    • ‘Eventually, after asking for directions a number of times, we picked up the road south and headed off.’
    • ‘We then picked up the road again and followed it through to our next downhill, a rocky, fast, narrow trail which deposits the rider at great speed at the foot of Biggin Hill.’
    • ‘I'm already looking forward to returning in a few years to pick the road up where I've left off.’
    • ‘You can pick the road up in Saunces, at the top of town next to Viares Square, home of the Town Hall.’
  • 7North American Tidy a room or building.

    • ‘We picked up the room, got dressed, and prepared Brandon's breakfast.’
    • ‘I set Lucie on the couch and picked up the room making it just as neat as it was when we left.’
    • ‘So, instead of just verbally telling him, "Pick up your room," we write down: Put dirty clothes in laundry basket, Put magazines on shelf, Put LEGOs back in box.’
    • ‘The cabin steward picked up the room and made the beds at least twice a day, and she was very nice.’
    • ‘Every day someone made up the beds and picked up the room while we were out.’