Definition of pickle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpik(ə)l/


1North American A small cucumber preserved in vinegar, brine, or a similar solution.
Example sentences
  • In the making of fresh-pack pickles, cucumbers are acidified quickly with vinegar.
  • By July, she'd already had time to make a batch of the pickles using cucumbers from her garden.
  • They plant and harvest onions, zucchini, pickles, cabbage, lettuce and apples, produce that gets shipped all over the country.
1.1Fruit or vegetables preserved in vinegar or brine and used as a relish.
Example sentences
  • Cold meat may taste better with a garnish of a pickle or other relish.
  • South Indians, I learned, love to end a meal with a custom-blended mix of rice, yogurt and pickle.
  • ‘Those are pickle flavored potato chips,’ said Tony, unable to hide the defensive undertone in his voice.
1.2The liquid used to preserve food or other perishable items.
Example sentences
  • In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise, pickle liquid, and mustard.
  • 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.
1.3An acid solution for cleaning metal objects.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Professionals use copper tongs to add and remove items from their pickle.
2 [in singular] informal A difficult or messy situation: I am in a pickle
More example sentences
  • Please note that my relationship is not in a pickle.
  • ALL ‘soap’ lovers will know that poor Jimmy and Lorraine are in a pickle over their wedding arrangements.
  • Locked out of her house, and nude as can be, the woman found herself in a pickle.
plight, predicament, mess, difficulty, trouble, dire/desperate straits, problem, quandary
informal tight corner, tight spot, jam, fix, scrape, bind, hole, hot water, fine kettle of fish


[with object]
1Preserve (food or other perishable items) in vinegar, brine, or a similar solution: chunks of green tomatoes pickled in brine
More example sentences
  • Young buds were pickled in vinegar or brine with silphium and cumin.
  • The large amount of sugar in the cooked fruit acted like the vinegar pickling brine to help preserve freshness.
  • Portuguese garlic pork is highly spiced pork pickled in garlic and vinegar.
preserve, souse, marinate, conserve
1.1Immerse (a metal object) in an acid or other chemical solution for cleaning.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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 and Middle Low German pekel, of unknown ultimate origin.

Words that rhyme with pickle

chicle, fickle, mickle, nickel, prickle, sickle, strickle, tickle, trickle

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pick·le

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