Definition of pickle in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpɪk(ə)l/


1 [mass noun] A relish consisting of vegetables or fruit preserved in vinegar or brine: cheese and pickle [count noun]: assorted pickles
More example sentences
  • A short stroll through the aisles of the average food hall reveals a bewildering variety of mustards, relishes, sauces, pickles and assorted creams, pastes, chutneys, jellies and condiments from all over the world.
  • The unripe fruit is used extensively in India and elsewhere in SE Asia for making chutneys, pickles, and relishes of various kinds.
  • Selina began to scrap her two scrambled eggs onto the brown meat pattie that had been smothered in ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce and mayonnaise.
1.1 [count noun] North American A pickled cucumber.
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.
1.2Liquid 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.
2 [in singular] informal A difficult 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, crisis, dire/desperate straits, ticklish/tricky situation, problem, quandary, dilemma
informal tight corner, tight spot, jam, fix, stew, scrape, bind, hole, hot water, pretty/fine kettle of fish
British informal spot of bother
3 [in singular] British informal, dated Used as an affectionate form of address to a mischievous child: ‘All right, me pickle’, said Dad
More example sentences
  • Today is my little pickle's 2nd birthday.
  • I can't resist anything dotted and a little Easter treat would be right up my little pickle’s alley. She loves having a big girl bag like mommy's.
  • I get to hang out with my little pickle all day and do laundry and cook and clean stuff and go to the park and go to the mall and go to the grocery store and make breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
4An 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.


[with object]
1Preserve (food or other perishable items) in vinegar or brine: fish 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.
2Immerse (a metal object) in an acid or other chemical solution for cleaning: the steel sheet is first pickled in acid to remove all oxides
More 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, 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

Line breaks: pickle

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