Definition of pickle in US English:



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

    • ‘Our salt pancake, a pocket of sweet onions, carrots, pickles and some kind of melted French cheese, was a good choice, too.’
    • ‘Everything, from the bread, the onions, pickles, and the beef, right down to the ketchup and mustard was one hundred percent Earth grown.’
    • ‘In the making of fresh-pack pickles, cucumbers are acidified quickly with vinegar.’
    • ‘The type of cucumbers used in his pickles is not raised in Japan.’
    • ‘By July, she'd already had time to make a batch of the pickles using cucumbers from her garden.’
    • ‘I've been eating pickles and jam all afternoon.’
    • ‘On the inside is the traditional ham and pork and pickles and maybe a little mustard.’
    • ‘No, if I was pregnant I'd want chocolate chip muffins and pickles.’
    • ‘‘Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun’ might pass for a trademark.’
    • ‘Sour taste is in foods like pickles, plain yogurt, and citrus.’
    • ‘Bacon, luncheon meats, potato chips, and pickles are examples of salty foods.’
    • ‘As a result they organised breakfast for us so that we can have it in our room (sweet bread, eggs, pickles and drinking yogurt).’
    • ‘At one point, she brought a big plate of pickles and little plastic cups of coleslaw.’
    • ‘They plant and harvest onions, zucchini, pickles, cabbage, lettuce and apples, produce that gets shipped all over the country.’
    • ‘The barrel will turn the sweet cucumber into a pickle.’
    • ‘A huge, mouthwatering grinder stared back at me, adorned with lettuce and tomato and pickles and everything else I loved.’
    • ‘Cucumbers lacked brine with which to make pickles.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She picked up her burger and turned it over a couple of times, shedding lettuce, tomatoes and pickles which he patiently restored.’
    1. 1.1 Fruit or vegetables preserved in vinegar or brine and used as a relish.
      • ‘Their mango pickle is often highly spiced and may be extremely hot.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘In the menu, we've got things like terrine of gammon, with a fried quail's egg and spiced pineapple pickle,’ he said.’
      • ‘Sweet cucumber and pepper pickle This is the pickle of my childhood.’
      • ‘The top slice of bread slid off and disturbed the pickle layer underneath.’
      • ‘Place the pickle at one end and roll the turkey around it.’
      • ‘South Indians, I learned, love to end a meal with a custom-blended mix of rice, yogurt and pickle.’
      • ‘A plate arrived with delicate leaves, sun-dried and cherry tomatoes, pine nuts, sliced olives, sweet pickle and crisps.’
      • ‘The sandwich will invariably be rye bread with cheese lettuce, pickle and red capsicum, or rye bread with ham, lettuce, pickle and red capsicum.’
      • ‘Cold meat may taste better with a garnish of a pickle or other relish.’
      • ‘Pickling in brine had already been done for centuries.’
      • ‘And it has the sharp zesty tang too of the pickle, chilli or onion that one chomps on between mouthfuls.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He brought me a potato chip, pickle, and chicken sandwich, my favorite.’
      • ‘The products include varieties of preserved chilli beans, mango pickle and minced green chilli paste.’
      • ‘‘Those are pickle flavored potato chips,’ said Tony, unable to hide the defensive undertone in his voice.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Both are served with mint and yoghurt, hot lime pickle, spiced onions and homemade mango chutney.’
      • ‘Finally, some rice and pickle were found in one of the houses.’
      relish, chutney, chow chow, piccalilli, sauerkraut
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    2. 1.2 The liquid used to preserve food or other perishable items.
      • ‘Pickle liquid mixed in with the mayo can give a new twist to your time-honored potato salad.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Leave the meat in the pickle liquid for three days. Keep the pickling mixture.’
      • ‘In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, pickle liquid, and mustard.’
      marinade, brine, vinegar
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    3. 1.3 An acid solution for cleaning metal objects.
      • ‘Wash your project in clean water after pickle and dry thoroughly before moving on.’
      • ‘Professionals use copper tongs to add and remove items from their pickle.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Copper will not contaminate the pickling solution, and it is crucial that you keep your pickle clean.’
  • 2informal in singular A difficult or messy situation.

    ‘I am in a pickle’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We realized we were in a pickle and knew how much embarrassment would ensue from most of the remedies that obviously presented themselves.’
    • ‘Please note that my relationship is not in a pickle.’
    • ‘Locked out of her house, and nude as can be, the woman found herself in a pickle.’
    • ‘However, they were caught in a pickle between a better user experience and short term revenue goals.’
    • ‘Once you start analysing your own music or judging it through the eyes of others your bound to get yourself 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.’
    • ‘But it's difficult to argue when traffic jams are landing us in a pickle every day.’
    • ‘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…’
    • ‘Those who do not have private insurance often find themselves in a pickle if something does go wrong.’
    • ‘Thanks for any advice you can offer; I'm definitely 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But it leaves questing, small-c conservative voters like me in a pickle.’
    • ‘And while colleagues would like to move faster, they also accept he is in a pickle.’
    • ‘Two people - both oboists - had left the school orchestra and things were in a pickle.’
    • ‘ALL ‘soap’ lovers will know that poor Jimmy and Lorraine are in a pickle over their wedding arrangements.’
    • ‘If you get yourself in a pickle, you'll get out of it.’
    • ‘Yet, somehow, they ended up in a pickle on the seafront.’
    • ‘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.’
    plight, predicament, mess, difficulty, trouble, crisis, desperate straits, dire straits, ticklish situation, tricky situation, problem, quandary, dilemma
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[with object]
  • 1Preserve (food or other perishable items) in vinegar, brine, or a similar solution.

    ‘chunks of green tomatoes pickled in brine’
    • ‘Mint was grown and pickled in vinegar by the Romans, who introduced the plant into England.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Portuguese garlic pork is highly spiced pork pickled in garlic and vinegar.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The salmon they carried from Berwick was boiled, pickled in brine and delivered in barrels known as kitts.’
    • ‘The best-known dressing-up dish is kimchee, vegetables pickled in sweetish but mostly hot red chili paste touched with garlic and ginger.’
    • ‘To reduce waste, Wendy has begun pickling the mushrooms they don't sell.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The buds are picked before they start to open, and pickled in vinegar.’
    • ‘The large amount of sugar in the cooked fruit acted like the vinegar pickling brine to help preserve freshness.’
    • ‘They are hand-picked at the beginning of the summer, to be pickled in vinegar and enjoyed as a condiment or in salads.’
    • ‘Usually, it's fried, pickled in vinegar and spices and served cold.’
    • ‘As you recall, when we pickle cherries or watermelon rinds, we add a little sugar.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Young buds were pickled in vinegar or brine with silphium and cumin.’
    • ‘She thought about this as she pickled some cucumbers for the winter.’
    preserve, souse, marinate, conserve
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    1. 1.1 Immerse (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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Titanium sheet, supplied descaled and pickled, has no significant amount of surface oxide.’


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