Definition of pickle in English:



  • 1North American A small cucumber preserved in vinegar, brine, or a similar solution.

    • ‘Everything, from the bread, the onions, pickles, and the beef, right down to the ketchup and mustard was one hundred percent Earth grown.’
    • ‘On the inside is the traditional ham and pork and pickles and maybe a little mustard.’
    • ‘At one point, she brought a big plate of pickles and little plastic cups of coleslaw.’
    • ‘By July, she'd already had time to make a batch of the pickles using cucumbers from her garden.’
    • ‘Ask for extra veggies like lettuce, tomatoes and pickles.’
    • ‘Lebanese Americans also eat fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, yogurt and yogurt cheese, pickles, hot peppers, olives, and pistachio nuts.’
    • ‘The barrel will turn the sweet cucumber into a pickle.’
    • ‘As a result they organised breakfast for us so that we can have it in our room (sweet bread, eggs, pickles and drinking yogurt).’
    • ‘I've been eating pickles and jam all afternoon.’
    • ‘Our salt pancake, a pocket of sweet onions, carrots, pickles and some kind of melted French cheese, was a good choice, too.’
    • ‘Sour taste is in foods like pickles, plain yogurt, and citrus.’
    • ‘A huge, mouthwatering grinder stared back at me, adorned with lettuce and tomato and pickles and everything else I loved.’
    • ‘In the making of fresh-pack pickles, cucumbers are acidified quickly with vinegar.’
    • ‘They plant and harvest onions, zucchini, pickles, cabbage, lettuce and apples, produce that gets shipped all over the country.’
    • ‘Cucumbers lacked brine with which to make pickles.’
    • ‘Bacon, luncheon meats, potato chips, and pickles are examples of salty foods.’
    • ‘The type of cucumbers used in his pickles is not raised in Japan.’
    • ‘‘Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun’ might pass for a trademark.’
    • ‘She picked up her burger and turned it over a couple of times, shedding lettuce, tomatoes and pickles which he patiently restored.’
    • ‘No, if I was pregnant I'd want chocolate chip muffins and pickles.’
    1. 1.1Fruit or vegetables preserved in vinegar or brine and used as a relish.
      • ‘The sandwich will invariably be rye bread with cheese lettuce, pickle and red capsicum, or rye bread with ham, lettuce, pickle and red capsicum.’
      • ‘A plate arrived with delicate leaves, sun-dried and cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, sliced olives, sweet pickle and crisps.’
      • ‘South Indians, I learned, love to end a meal with a custom-blended mix of rice, yogurt and pickle.’
      • ‘The top slice of bread slid off and disturbed the pickle layer underneath.’
      • ‘And it has the sharp zesty tang too of the pickle, chilli or onion that one chomps on between mouthfuls.’
      • ‘Sweet cucumber and pepper pickle This is the pickle of my childhood.’
      • ‘‘In the menu, we've got things like terrine of gammon, with a fried quail's egg and spiced pineapple pickle,’ he said.’
      • ‘Place the pickle at one end and roll the turkey around it.’
      • ‘Finally, some rice and pickle were found in one of the houses.’
      • ‘His customers wouldn't like it if his tender mango pickle comes laced with vinegar, so no preservatives are added something no branded pickle can claim.’
      • ‘Both are served with mint and yoghurt, hot lime pickle, spiced onions and homemade mango chutney.’
      • ‘The labels on the jars proved helpful in identifying the pickles of your choice: Goan fish pickle, pickled cauliflower, pickled cucumber, or beef and onion pickle.’
      • ‘Trent walked in holding a potato chip, pickle, and chicken sandwich - my favorite.’
      • ‘Their mango pickle is often highly spiced and may be extremely hot.’
      • ‘The duck was delicious, the tasty aubergine pickle had an interesting bite of heat and the jus was also very good, though the peanut mash was not very peanutty.’
      • ‘The camera swept across a row of pickle jars, each containing some kind of cucumber, egg, or vegetable that Joe and Harry had put up in a previous show.’
      • ‘Cold meat may taste better with a garnish of a pickle or other relish.’
      • ‘‘Those are pickle flavored potato chips,’ said Tony, unable to hide the defensive undertone in his voice.’
      • ‘He brought me a potato chip, pickle, and chicken sandwich, my favorite.’
      • ‘Pickling in brine had already been done for centuries.’
      • ‘The products include varieties of preserved chilli beans, mango pickle and minced green chilli paste.’
    2. 1.2The liquid used to preserve food or other perishable items.
      • ‘In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, pickle liquid, and mustard.’
      • ‘Leave the meat in the pickle liquid for three days. Keep the pickling mixture.’
      • ‘However, in a British pub you'd probably have to substitute pickled egg vinegar as they wouldn't have any dill pickle liquid.’
      • ‘Just slice them into decent slices, and drop them into the pickle liquid for a few seconds then bottle them.’
      • ‘Pickle liquid mixed in with the mayo can give a new twist to your time-honored potato salad.’
    3. 1.3An acid solution for cleaning metal objects.
      • ‘Professionals use copper tongs to add and remove items from their pickle.’
      • ‘Copper will not contaminate the pickling solution, and it is crucial that you keep your pickle clean.’
      • ‘They will have to be cleaned in pickle and soldered to findings or drilled to make pendants, rings, or other jewelry.’
      • ‘I have a problem with copper deposit on metals cleaned in pickle.’
      • ‘Wash your project in clean water after pickle and dry thoroughly before moving on.’
  • 2informal [in singular] A difficult or messy situation.

    ‘I am in a pickle’
    • ‘When in a pickle like the one you describe, it is perfectly acceptable to announce you are early risers and the evening is, regrettably, over.’
    • ‘Two people - both oboists - had left the school orchestra and things were in a pickle.’
    • ‘He was rolled by his colleagues and now he is in a pickle on so many fronts that he is one of the most discredited members of the Government.’
    • ‘Locked out of her house, and nude as can be, the woman found herself in a pickle.’
    • ‘Those who do not have private insurance often find themselves in a pickle if something does go wrong.’
    • ‘They open the newspaper; they read a couple of headlines on the front page to see if they know anybody that got in a pickle, and then they go right to the sports page or the comics.’
    • ‘They also help you build up the reflexes you need if you're ever in a pickle, and give you the confidence to fight back - which leads me to my next topic…’
    • ‘ALL ‘soap’ lovers will know that poor Jimmy and Lorraine are in a pickle over their wedding arrangements.’
    • ‘Thanks for any advice you can offer; I'm definitely in a pickle.’
    • ‘If yields jumped, the government could find itself in a pickle as it struggled to pay off dollar debt with a fast-weakening currency.’
    • ‘Yet, somehow, they ended up in a pickle on the seafront.’
    • ‘But it leaves questing, small-c conservative voters like me in a pickle.’
    • ‘Once you start analysing your own music or judging it through the eyes of others your bound to get yourself in a pickle.’
    • ‘But it's difficult to argue when traffic jams are landing us in a pickle every day.’
    • ‘If you get yourself in a pickle, you'll get out of it.’
    • ‘However, they were caught in a pickle between a better user experience and short term revenue goals.’
    • ‘I think by backing off just a bit we can still make it hard, but at the same time stop ourselves from getting in a pickle.’
    • ‘We realized we were in a pickle and knew how much embarrassment would ensue from most of the remedies that obviously presented themselves.’
    • ‘And while colleagues would like to move faster, they also accept he is in a pickle.’
    • ‘Please note that my relationship is not in a pickle.’
    plight, predicament, mess, difficulty, trouble, crisis, desperate straits, dire straits, ticklish situation, tricky situation, problem, quandary, dilemma
    View synonyms


  • 1 Preserve (food or other perishable items) in vinegar, brine, or a similar solution.

    ‘chunks of green tomatoes pickled in brine’
    • ‘The best-known dressing-up dish is kimchee, vegetables pickled in sweetish but mostly hot red chili paste touched with garlic and ginger.’
    • ‘The buds are picked before they start to open, and pickled in vinegar.’
    • ‘They are tiny flower buds from Mediterranean shrubs, which are usually pickled in brine or sea salt.’
    • ‘Food-grade lime may be used as a lime-water solution for soaking fresh cucumbers 12 to 24 hours before pickling them.’
    • ‘Influenced by the cooking style in neighbouring cities, especially in Ningbo, where people are skilled in pickling seafood in wine, Shanghainese also show great interest in dishes like pickled shrimps and crabs.’
    • ‘Young buds were pickled in vinegar or brine with silphium and cumin.’
    • ‘Mint was grown and pickled in vinegar by the Romans, who introduced the plant into England.’
    • ‘Portuguese garlic pork is highly spiced pork pickled in garlic and vinegar.’
    • ‘She thought about this as she pickled some cucumbers for the winter.’
    • ‘Usually, it's fried, pickled in vinegar and spices and served cold.’
    • ‘They are hand-picked at the beginning of the summer, to be pickled in vinegar and enjoyed as a condiment or in salads.’
    • ‘As you recall, when we pickle cherries or watermelon rinds, we add a little sugar.’
    • ‘Either kind is eaten with red cabbage pickled in vinegar.’
    • ‘When most people think of herring, they picture it in smoked strips, or maybe pickled in large jars.’
    • ‘The large amount of sugar in the cooked fruit acted like the vinegar pickling brine to help preserve freshness.’
    • ‘The salmon they carried from Berwick was boiled, pickled in brine and delivered in barrels known as kitts.’
    • ‘To reduce waste, Wendy has begun pickling the mushrooms they don't sell.’
    • ‘He says: ‘We sell the whole of the beast from the tongue, which is pickled in the shop's own brine tub, all the way to the oxtail.’’
    • ‘To lightly pickle the cucumber, finely slice it and toss with salt, sugar and lemon juice.’
    • ‘He was pickled in a barrel and the story is that Mary helped to do this.’
    preserve, souse, marinate, conserve
    bottle, tin, can, pot
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Immerse (a metal object) in an acid or other chemical solution for cleaning.
      • ‘After a few rounds of heating and pickling in acid the silver would be brought to the surface of the coin in a thin rind, and give the coin a brilliant silvery appearance.’
      • ‘Titanium sheet, supplied descaled and pickled, has no significant amount of surface oxide.’
      • ‘This is usually done by pickling in an inhibited acid.’
      • ‘Miliscale on copper-nickel alloys must be removed by grinding or pickling; wire brushing is not effective.’


Late Middle English (denoting a spicy sauce served with meat): from Middle Dutch and Middle Low German pekel, of unknown ultimate origin.