Definition of pluck in English:



  • 1Take hold of (something) and quickly remove it from its place; pick.

    ‘she plucked a blade of grass’
    ‘he plucked a tape from the shelf’
    • ‘Were I meeting men of this caliber, I'd be head over heels, humming wedding marches and plucking the petals off of daisies in the classic, he loves me, he loves me not fashion.’
    • ‘Instead she plucks the fixings for a salad from the garden.’
    • ‘The compère strides forward and plucks the microphone from the stand.’
    • ‘Baba leans across, plucks it out of the tea, and after removing his handkerchief from his pocket, gently mops the petals.’
    • ‘He quickly kissed my lips and playfully plucked the carton of apple juice from my hand.’
    • ‘He plucked a blade of grass, splitting it in two.’
    • ‘He plucks old characters from obscurity, brings them together and makes them dance.’
    • ‘He plucks a long blade of grass to chew on out of habit.’
    • ‘Nobody sees it, until at the station a smart woman leaving the train bends over and plucks it off the floor and smooths it down as she cradles it in her hand.’
    • ‘He plucks a hibiscus flower from a bush and hands it to me.’
    • ‘Each show plucks the boss of a major organisation out of the boardroom and deposits them on the shop floor.’
    • ‘Then, with a sickle, Kasle plucks weeds for Rs 20 a day on the landowner's fields.’
    • ‘She reached over and plucked a small grass blade from his hair.’
    • ‘After some consideration, Jane plucked a light green T-shirt from her closet, and pulled on her favourite pair of jeans.’
    • ‘She sank back into the soft grass and plucked a snow white lily from it's stalk.’
    • ‘When he looked around all he could see was just greenish vegetation from which he spotted some kind of a familiar plant where he plucked a few leaves and quickly crushed them using a stone.’
    • ‘Hoshiko rolled onto her stomach, plucking blades of grass from the immaculate lawn.’
    • ‘She cautiously plucked a blade of grass from the lawn, and scrutinised it.’
    • ‘She stammered, quickly plucking her favorite perfume off of her dresser and spraying some on.’
    • ‘They strode past a cedar tree, and Caleb plucked several needles from a protruding branch.’
    • ‘And boy, Steve reached down today and plucked it just like picking a flower.’
    remove, pick off, pick, pull, pull off, pull out, extract, take, take off
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    1. 1.1Catch hold of and pull quickly.
      ‘she plucked his sleeve’
      [no object] ‘brambles plucked at her jeans’
      • ‘So when I tried them on, the cutest little Latino boy came and knelt in front of me and sort pinched and plucked at me, showing me where he'd take them in to fit me better.’
      • ‘I looked down at myself and plucked at my jacket.’
      • ‘His mother sank back down onto the couch and plucked at the seat.’
      • ‘He shivered once or twice and plucked at the blanket and drew it close to his face.’
      • ‘He plucked at my elbow and we three retreated slowly, until the guard gave up and wandered away.’
      • ‘Joren moved quickly, plucking the young woman away from the corpse and pressing her against the wall.’
      • ‘‘Well at least wash it,’ Jane wrinkled her nose as she plucked at his cloak.’
      • ‘She sighed again and plucked at a loose thread in her dress.’
      • ‘Slightly surprised at that line of questioning I plucked at my jeans.’
      • ‘Luckily enough, a circus happens to be passing by, and one dwarf leads his elephant over to the car, where the elephant plucks the woman out with his trunk.’
      • ‘She strode up to her daughter, and plucked at the pink blouse.’
      • ‘Wondering if Manda had left it there, he quickly plucked it from its constraint.’
      • ‘Morgan plucked at his sleeve and they both sat down silently on the other bed.’
      • ‘She plucked at the ribbon trim on her pillowcase and didn't reply.’
      • ‘His graceful hands deftly plucked at various cables and wires, reconnecting, splicing.’
      • ‘She looked down at her clothing and plucked at the wrinkles in her tee shirt.’
      • ‘Actually, he jumped off the stool and ran towards his little brother - quickly plucking the bowl from his hands and making his way towards me.’
      • ‘Riga grinned proudly and plucked at the sleeve of his shirt aimlessly.’
      • ‘He lowered himself into a chair and leaned back, stretching his legs out before him while he plucked at his lower lip in thought.’
      • ‘I plucked at the sleeve of the jacket Roop had given me, trying to think of a change in conversation.’
    2. 1.2Pull the feathers from (a bird's carcass) to prepare it for cooking.
      • ‘The owner of the turkey and the ‘Keeper of the Fowl’ were going to have the bird cleaned and plucked and we were going to have a Turkey Fry.’
      • ‘Wringing pigeons' necks, plucking and cleaning, were jobs he now did without demur.’
      • ‘They also want cheap labour to cut the sugar cane, pluck the chickens, pick the oranges, mow the lawns and make the beds.’
      • ‘So, when Linda is not helping out with lambing, plucking her fabulous chickens or collecting eggs from her daughter's quails, she is knocking up new duck-houses in her carpentry shed.’
      • ‘One day I labored in the basement kitchen plucking a hundred pigeons, burning the tougher feathers off with a hand-held torch.’
      • ‘Once the blood has drained, the stall-owner plucks off the feathers, removes the entrails and hands the bird over in a bag.’
      • ‘He was already plucking the last few feathers and rubbing spices into the carcasses in preparation for cooking.’
      • ‘He at once began work on the bird, plucking the feathers carefully from its wings and tail and setting them in a pile on the sand, then skinning it with his dagger.’
      • ‘The temperature had dropped dramatically, and he was pleased to be able to get a good blaze going before setting to work plucking and preparing his wildfowl.’
      • ‘Then it would be slaughtered, plucked and cleaned in time for dinner on the day itself.’
    3. 1.3Pull some of the hairs from (one's eyebrows) to make them look neater.
      • ‘I've also plucked hair from my eyebrows but will not go into this.’
      • ‘Teen magazines are full of articles on how to lose weight, get the right hair highlights, pluck eyebrows effectively, and so on.’
      • ‘Cohen saw potential in a beauty parlour where women could get make-up done, have eyebrows plucked or false eyelash extensions applied.’
      • ‘Avoid over plucking the eyebrows, only take stray hairs from below the brow line as a rule or get them done professionally.’
      • ‘Her eyebrows are plucked and slender and brown like her natural hair color.’
      • ‘I could live without a leg wax and having my eyebrows plucked.’
      • ‘He held a pair of tweezers in his hand, debating whether or not to pluck away the three stray hairs between his eyebrows.’
      • ‘My eyes are small like my dad's, and my eyebrows have been plucked much thinner than natural.’
      • ‘For small, annoying hairs in inconvenient places, try plucking.’
      • ‘Martha had her eyebrows plucked in a rounded and shallow arch, which added to her beauty.’
      • ‘Sarah flicked her hair over her shoulder and raised an immaculately plucked eyebrow.’
      • ‘Women in particular are depicted in literature as looking forward to this break in their routine, dying their hair blonde in preparation, plucking their eyebrows and putting on all their jewellery.’
      • ‘I got my eyebrows plucked professionally yesterday too.’
      • ‘Undergoing a total transformation by cutting her hair, plucking her eyebrows, and having her teeth capped, Céline was willing to do whatever it took to make her dreams a reality.’
      • ‘My nails were cut and shaped, my eyebrows plucked and then a massage with sweet smelling creams.’
      • ‘It is of vital importance to pluck one's eyebrows regularly.’
      • ‘As it singes, it seals the ends of the hair so it doesn't grow back as quickly as when you wax or pluck it.’
      • ‘With the help of a trusty pair of tweezers (the sharper, the better), pluck away at the hairs you want to eliminate.’
      • ‘The camera is too close to her face, her make up is flaked and cracking in places, tiny stray hairs, missed by plucking, appear on her eyebrows.’
      • ‘Really need to pluck or get her eyebrows waxed or something.’
  • 2Quickly or suddenly remove someone from a dangerous or unpleasant situation.

    ‘the baby was plucked from a grim foster home’
    • ‘Rescuers managed to pluck the Dutch man from the stricken boat.’
    • ‘On this street, Eureka volunteer firefighters' rescue boats later would pluck at least 20 people to safety, many from their rooftops.’
    • ‘Dozens of cats and dogs, even snakes and exotic birds have been plucked to safety and taken to temporary shelters.’
    • ‘The U.S. Coast Guard, going in and plucking, one by one, these victims from rooftops and other areas along the Gulf of Mexico.’
    • ‘Helicopter pilots flying from its deck were some of the first to begin plucking stranded New Orleans residents.’
    • ‘The officer slung a rope around Ben's shivering body and plucked him to safety after a two-hour operation.’
    • ‘A bird plucked from an oil spillage has been returned to the wild next to a sewage plant.’
    • ‘He was plucked from the rocks by a lifeboat crew.’
    • ‘Crews plucked stranded villagers and tourists from rooftops and even the tops of cars.’
    • ‘Two of the people rescued were plucked from near-death situations.’
  • 3Sound (a musical instrument or its strings) with one's finger or a plectrum.

    • ‘I sat with the lute in my lap, trying to reach for forgotten notes as my fingers plucked the strings.’
    • ‘I watched her fingers pluck the strings gracefully, feeling her courage getting greater with the song.’
    • ‘She started strumming, and plucking the strings, and finally singing.’
    • ‘Mingus plucks the lazy line of notes, the last of which rises to meet the downward shifting piano, which in turn merges in motion with the wandering trumpet.’
    • ‘He let his fingernails grow long, the better to pluck his new classical guitar.’
    • ‘The whole room was silent while the guitar was still being plucked and a few other odd noises were involved.’
    • ‘It reached deep inside, plucking at the heartstrings, moving everyone's souls.’
    • ‘And another (rather inspired this one) when he serenaded them with a banjo while plucking the theme tune to 1970s hick-horror flick Deliverance.’
    • ‘In fact this is a very romantic comic, and none of it's overplayed or plucks the heartstrings unnecessarily.’
    • ‘The guitar player hesitantly plucking the same melodic line over and over again, unsure of whether to stop or to go on.’
    • ‘Rita picked up his guitar and plucked at the strings.’
    • ‘That evening ended on a low chord with a little whimsical note plucked in the upper register.’
    • ‘Atkins does it all, singing and strumming and plucking, while Plummer takes a seat behind the drums.’
    • ‘With a deep breath, Jeananne plucked at her harp and sang a shrieking tune to the only audience member without the means to block out sound.’
    • ‘He has plucked and strummed the strings of the electric guitar.’
    • ‘She could not pick out a single word from the speedy way the bright folk spoke, but she could guess what they meant by the way they were plucking at her harp and looking at her expectantly.’
    • ‘She started plucking out tunes and she became a star and that is a great story and something we can all be inspired by.’
    • ‘Jande let the silence stretch for a moment before she began plucking a soft, almost drone-like rhythm in the lower register.’
    • ‘Could my daughter be playing me like a violin; plucking at my heart strings so I would feel loved?’
    • ‘After putting the finishing touches to an instrument, he plucks a mournful tune which fills the workshop, his big brown eyes briefly lost in thought.’
    strum, pick, thrum, twang, plunk, finger
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  • 1Spirited and determined courage.

    • ‘But while he may not have the same terrier-like reputation as his brother and admits that maybe he could do with honing that never-say-never spirit, he showed plenty of pluck.’
    • ‘‘Although large and powerful, they have not the pluck and martial spirit of Englishmen,’ one soldier remarked, just before his death.’
    • ‘The goal is to ensure that patients' spirits - their source of both peace and pluck - remain intact.’
    • ‘And when I was here a few weeks ago, I met with a number of those families, and I was impressed by their pluck, their spirit.’
    • ‘And so, with great delight, the two close friends set out to prove they have lost none of their pluck or zest for life and through various assignations and mistaken identities turn the tables beautifully on Falstaff.’
    • ‘For example, this time last year you highlighted the sheer day-to-day pluck and dedication of young carers in the borough.’
    • ‘But their leaders were full of admiration for their pluck and cheerful acceptance of the conditions.’
    • ‘The son returns to be by his father's bedside, and finds that the old man has still a lot of pluck that he displays when his old friend turn up.’
    • ‘What the Borders team lacked in class it made up for in pluck.’
    • ‘His youth, pluck and decisiveness were one of the major assets which made him different from the Communists whose radical slogans had never been translated into real actions.’
    • ‘While fast food restaurants require their workers to have a high school diploma, street vendors only need some cash and a bit of pluck to start up their business.’
    • ‘But her considerable pluck, vivid imagination, and true talent enable her to regain the respect of her judgmental community.’
    • ‘Wendy couldn't help but admire the pluck and ingenuity these youngsters showed.’
    • ‘While she hints at the demons in Maya's past, she invests little intelligence or pluck in the character.’
    • ‘Peter doubted the absolute truth of these statements, but he did not doubt the General's heart and his pluck.’
    • ‘After returning to terra firma the photographer said: ‘It was a lot further up that I realised and I admire the builders for their pluck in being able to work up so high.’’
    • ‘At 73 June sings those lyrics with the same determined pluck as she did at 9, revealing an artist whose hopefulness proved as solid and indefatigable as her voice.’
    • ‘Admiring her pluck and determination Clint reluctantly takes her on and a fascinating relationship of substitute father and daughter emerges.’
    • ‘Bob used plenty of pluck and hard work to get started, and then he offered other businesses the chance to get started too.’
    • ‘Of course, not everyone has the pluck to become an entrepreneur, and most businesses fail before they get off the starting block.’
    • ‘President Reagan is showing an awful lot of pluck given this tragedy.’
    courage, bravery, nerve, pluckiness, boldness, courageousness, braveness, backbone, spine, daring, spirit, intrepidness, intrepidity, fearlessness, mettle, determination, fortitude, resolve, resolution, stout-heartedness, hardihood, dauntlessness, valour, doughtiness, heroism, audacity
    grit, guts, spunk, gutsiness, gumption
    bottle, ballsiness
    moxie, cojones, sand
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  • 2The heart, liver, and lungs of an animal as food.

    • ‘Put the pluck into cold salted water, boil, then skim and simmer for 1 hour.’
    • ‘Wash the pluck and put in a pan of boiling water and boil for 1 hour.’

Phrasal Verbs


Late Old English ploccian, pluccian, of Germanic origin; related to Flemish plokken; probably from the base of Old French (es)peluchier to pluck pluck is originally boxers' slang.