Definition of pick someone/something out in US English:

pick someone/something out

phrasal verb

  • 1Distinguish someone or something among a group of people or things.

    ‘Lester picked out two familiar voices’
    • ‘But the selective pointillism that picks it out identifies an essential pre-requisite for effective political action.’
    • ‘I heard his name, but I'd never be able to pick him out of a crowd.’
    • ‘But an eyewitness to the attack picked him out after a video identification procedure.’
    • ‘Now they are checking identity cards, bags and can pick people out for interrogation.’
    • ‘She picked him out from his many siblings, including a twin brother, adopted him in secrecy and raised him in a life of privilege and safety.’
    • ‘But both girls picked him out of an identity parade.’
    • ‘‘I feel a bit vulnerable to be honest, because I haven't had any experience of the media,’ she says, ‘and even before we'd spoken to anyone they'd already sort of picked us out and slated us.’’
    • ‘He made no comment when questioned but the victim picked him out in an identity parade.’
    • ‘In November, the victim picked the robber out of a video identification parade.’
    • ‘She says: ‘I think murals are very educational for a child because from a young age they can pick things out on the mural and identify them.’’
    see, discern, spot, distinguish, perceive, make out, detect, notice, observe, recognize, identify, catch sight of, glimpse, discover
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 (of a light) illuminate an object by shining directly on it.
      • ‘The light picked her out as she stopped to slide her fingers through the grass and then moved slowly across the plaza toward the public fountain.’
      • ‘Again he came down past us, this time closer to the boat, and the light picked him out just below the surface.’
      • ‘I asked him how he was caught and he told me that although he walked very small steps, every few metres dropping down into the grass, suddenly a small plane landed and picked him out in its lights.’
      • ‘"The light picked her out dramatically from the blurry dark background," he writes.’
      • ‘He reached the middle just as a beam of strong light picked him out and he stood, dazzled, in the headlights of a long black limo.’
      • ‘The trios move in alternation as light from above picks them out, the grounded people waving their limbs like neophyte swimmers or fledglings learning to fly.’
      • ‘It was weak at such a distance, but strong enough that its light picked them out. Gunfire followed immediately.’
      • ‘Other scars were older, old enough to have become no more than silvery lines, hard to see until the shifting light picked them out, like the teardrop-shaped scar under her eye.’
      • ‘A dim light picked her out, revealing a very female figure clad in a sort of ribbon-robe and eye-mask.’
      • ‘The powerful beans of light picked her out against the black, wet side of the cliff.’
    2. 1.2usually be picked out Distinguish shapes or letters from their surroundings by painting or fashioning them in a contrasting color or medium.
      ‘the initials are picked out in diamonds’
      • ‘The fuel tank was painted the same light blue as the wings with the retaining straps picked out in red to match the chassis.’
      • ‘An MG badge was cast in each cam cover at the front, with the letters and the octagon picked out in red.’
      • ‘The V for Victoria is picked out in diamonds, R for Regina in pearls and I for Imperatrix in turquoises.’
      • ‘The residents' lounge is furnished and decorated in keeping with its Victorian image, the plaster rosette on the ceiling is picked out in gold leaf, fawn and white.’
      • ‘The cypher on the reverse is picked out in diamonds and dated 1911.’
      • ‘The ornate plasterwork ceiling had lines and flowers picked out in gold leaf and deep red.’
      • ‘His watch was large and methodical, and on the outer case two hearts were picked out in diamonds from the dark solid gold.’
      • ‘Only the shields are picked out with carefully selected colours.’
      • ‘The elaborate metalwork of the handsome old bridges spanning the river is picked out in brilliant colours.’
      • ‘The basic color is a dark blue, the incised patterns being picked out in red, white, green, and yellow.’