Definition of pickup in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpikˌəp/


1 (also pickup truck) A small truck with an enclosed cab and open back.
Example sentences
  • Leading her back to the pickup, he opened the passenger door.
  • They won't transport well in the back of an open pickup.
  • Five days later, I saw the first bumper sticker, slapped on a shiny new Japanese pickup driven by an aging weekend hippie.
2An act of collecting a person or goods, especially in a vehicle: curbside pickup [as modifier]: travel by bus from your local pickup point to your hotel
More example sentences
  • The object is to go around collecting pickups within increasingly difficult time limits.
  • That is, he can schedule, by the hour, equipment delivery and pickups at a project that best fits construction schedules.
  • Back then, messenger companies would lump all the pickups and deliveries together on one invoice.
3The reception of signals, especially interference or noise, by electrical apparatus.
Example sentences
  • I get no discernible hum pickup over that length.
  • I finally allowed my eyes to close as the sounds of the ocean picked up through an underwater microphone that emitted its pickup through speakers in the room.
  • We demonstrated that the remaining imbalance was dominated by the pickup loops.
4 informal A casual encounter with someone, with a view to having sexual intercourse.
Example sentences
  • What's the worst pickup line you've ever heard?
  • He liked betting with friends in regards of who of them came up with the best pickup line, or about who of them gathered more telephone numbers in one night out.
  • Spike and Bob have challenged listeners to call in and give Lauren their best pickup lines.
4.1A person encountered with a view to having sexual intercourse.
Example sentences
  • There's no doubt exactly what's on Mitchum's mind, whether he's eyeing up a pickup in a bar or breaking an egg in his fist and smearing the yolk over the mother's shoulders and neck.
  • How do I explain to my children that Dad was nothing more than a pickup in a bar?
  • It seems that she should use a better strategy for finding a husband than some pickup in a bar.
5An improvement in an economic indicator: signs of a pickup in demand
More example sentences
  • A pickup in the economy, a rise in interest rates to improve fixed income returns, and a recovery in the stock market should make everything better.
  • Fed officials in recent speeches have said they don't expect a pickup in the economy before next year.
  • If long-term rates rise with a pickup in the economy and increasing demand for capital, the bonds will lose value.
6A device that produces an electrical signal in response to some other kind of signal or change, in particular.
Example sentences
  • Contact rates have not been affected when a message can be delivered to a live pickup or answering device.
  • They were more like microphones than modern day pickups with a fixed anode and charged, stretched diaphragm.
  • I'll need to get a pickup to play electric, and I'll probably try and somehow combine it with my Dictaphone and laptop.
6.1The cartridge of a record player, carrying the stylus.
Example sentences
  • That noise is only apparent when you play 78s on an electrical pickup, which amplifies the scratch along with the music.
  • Use a good quality turntable to play the LP. The pickup cartridge should be properly aligned and the stylus should be in good condition and clean.
  • The pickup is where it all starts, and can be a difficult purchase, especially when you realise that the things have, relatively speaking, a limited lifespan compared with the other components in a system.
6.2A device on a musical instrument, particularly an electric guitar, that converts string vibrations into electrical signals for amplification.
Example sentences
  • Recording a five-string Fender bass with active pickups, I switched the impedance to 47k.
  • So, the noise of the toy gets amplified by your guitar pickup?
  • The guitarist wanted to track the sound of the guitar's piezo bridge pickup and the acoustic sound simultaneously.
7 Music A series of introductory notes leading into the opening part of a tune.
Example sentences
  • Many popular songs have a few preliminary "pickup" notes leading to the opening bar and its downbeat.
  • At the beginning of a song, you might have an incomplete bar called a pickup bar that leads in to the first full bar of the song.
  • However, if the pickup bar is counted as measure 1, the main structural point is correctly placed at bar 56.
8 Fishing A semicircular loop of metal for guiding the line back onto the spool as it is reeled in.
Example sentences
  • Pressing a button on the rear of the fishing reel disengages the line pickup thus allowing the line to fly off of the spool.
  • This closed-face spinning reel has a cup-shaped pickup head provided with notches for winding fishing line onto a normally stationary spool upon rotation of the pickup head about the spool.
  • The dual pickup pins collect the superline every time, even from the first crank of the handle.


North American informal
Informal and spontaneous: six players had started a full-court pickup basketball game
More example sentences
  • Even when you get in an informal pickup game, work on your skills.
  • There's also a large recreation area where I watched a placid game of pickup basketball.
  • He survived a motorcycle crash earlier this year - he wasn't wearing a helmet - only to severely dislocate his right wrist in a pickup basketball game.

Words that rhyme with pickup

hiccup, stick-up

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pick·up

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