From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishpick up phrasal verb1 lift something/somebody upLIFT pick something/somebody ↔ up to lift something or someone up He picked up the letter and read it. The phone rang and I picked it up. Mummy, can you pick me up?2 pick yourself upLIFT to get up from the ground after you have fallen Carol picked herself up and brushed the dirt off her coat.3 tidy something pick something ↔ up American EnglishTIDY to make a room or building tidy Pick up your room before you go to bed.4 get something pick something ↔ up informal a) GETto get or win something He’s already picked up three major prizes this year. b) BUYto buy something or get it from a shop etc I picked up an evening paper on the way home. For more details, pick up a leaflet in your local post office. c) to get an illness I picked up a virus while I was in America.5 collect pick something ↔ upGET to collect something from a place I’ll pick my things up later. She just dropped by to pick up her mail. 6 let somebody into a vehicle pick somebody ↔ upGET to let someone get into your car, boat etc and take them somewhere I’ll pick you up at the station. The survivors were picked up by fishing boats from nearby villages.7 learn pick something ↔ upLEARN to learn something by watching or listening to other people I picked up a few words of Greek when I was there last year. Mary watched the other dancers to see if she could pick up any tips.8 notice pick something ↔ upSMELLHEAR to notice something that is not easy to notice, such as a slight smell or a sign of something I picked up a faint smell of coffee. The dogs picked up the scent and raced off. We picked up their tracks again on the other side of the river.9 radio/signalsHEAR pick something ↔ up if a machine picks up a sound, movement, or signal, it is able to notice it or receive it The sensors pick up faint vibrations in the earth. I managed to pick up an American news broadcast.10 sex pick somebody ↔ upMEET to become friendly with someone you have just met because you want to have sex with them young women sitting around in bars waiting to be picked up 11 start again a) CONTINUE/START AGAINif you pick up where you stopped or were interrupted, you start again from that point We’ll meet again in the morning and we can pick up where we left off. b) IDEA pick something ↔ up if you pick up an idea that has been mentioned, you return to it and develop it further I’d like to pick up what you said earlier. This same theme is picked up in his later works.12 improve a) IMPROVEif a situation picks up, it improves Her social life was picking up at last. The economy is finally beginning to pick up again. We’ve been through a bit of a bad patch, but things are picking up again now. b) pick somebody upHEALTHY if a medicine or drink picks you up, it makes you feel better → pick-me-up13 road pick something ↔ up if you pick up a road, you go onto it and start driving along it We take the A14 to Birmingham and then pick up the M5.14 train/bus pick something ↔ up if you pick up a train, bus etc, you get onto it and travel on it15 pick up speed/steamFAST/QUICK to go faster The train was gradually picking up speed. 16 pick up the bill/tab (for something) informalPAY FOR to pay for something Why should the taxpayer pick up the tab for mistakes made by a private company?17 windFAST/QUICK if the wind picks up, it increases or grows stronger18 colour pick something ↔ upSUIT/LOOK GOOD TOGETHER if one thing picks up a colour in something else, it has an amount of the same colour in it so that the two things look nice together I like the way the curtains pick up the red in the rug.19 criminal pick somebody ↔ upCATCH if the police pick someone up, they take them somewhere to answer questions or to be locked up He was picked up by police as he was trying to leave the country.20 pick up the pieces (of something)RECOVER/GET BETTER to try to make your life normal again after something very bad has happened to you Thousands of victims of the earthquake are now faced with the task of picking up the pieces of their lives. 21 pick up the threads (of something)CONTINUE/START AGAIN if you pick up the threads of something that you were doing, you try to return to it and start doing it again after it stopped or was changed Now that the war was over they could pick up the threads of their lives again.22 pick your feet up spoken used to tell someone to walk properly or more quickly → pick→ See Verb table
Examples from the Corpuspick up• Do you want me to come back and pick you guys up?• He's hoping to pick up a few bargains at the sales.• I picked up a few words of Turkish when I was in Istanbul.• I picked up a stomach bug on holiday in Turkey.• Hi, I've come to pick up a suit I left on Tuesday.• I told Virginia I'd pick her up about 8:00.• I feel like I spend all my time picking up after the kids.• After the phone had rung twice, Joyce picked it up and said hello.• Brendan has a cold. He must have picked it up at school.• Financial commentators think we'll see the economy starting to pick up early next year.• Can you pick some milk up from the shop on your way home?• Come on Bob, pick up! I know you're there.• At present the hotel is almost empty, but I'm sure things will start to pick up in the spring.• I arranged to pick up Mr Clarke and take him to his accommodation.• "Where's Diana?" "She just left to pick up the kids from school."• Could you pick up the newspapers and magazines for me?• I'll pick up the tickets on my way home from work.• A lifeboat picked them up two miles from the coast.• Help me pick these things up. We have company coming.• It's just a little thing I picked up when I was in Kathmandu.pick yourself up• A team in such a position is likely to find it hard to pick itself up.• Shaken and deafened, I picked myself up.• I crashed to the ground, picked myself up, and began staggering around the car to the other side.• Carol picked herself up and dusted herself off.• He picked himself up and staggered down a corridor.• Think of the toddler learning to walk and how often he falls down only to pick himself up and try again.• Although he picked himself up and walked away, he knew something was wrong.• I fell, picked myself up, lurched forward another yard or two, then fell again.• However, Grimm was already picking himself up, swearing, dusting himself off, retrieving his cap.things are picking up• Well, things are picking up again. pick up speed/steam• Of course, good melody will sound fine at any tempo, so play slowly and gradually pick up speed.• The object thereupon begins to expand, and it will rapidly pick up speed.• The black-out protest is expected to pick up steam after the president signs the bill.• As they picked up speed along the main tarmac road it was already 3 a.m.• The coach picked up speed as it rattled and jolted down to Forty-second Street.• Indications the economy may be picking up steam hurt bonds by sparking concern inflation may accelerate, eroding bonds' fixed payments.• If the economy is picking up steam, the recovery may be nipped in the bud by renewed Fed tightening.pick up the bill/tab (for something)• After its shareholder equity turned negative last year, parent Dasa started picking up the bills.• But remember - raid your savings now and Santa won't pick up the bill.• Often, the book publisher, not the author, picks up the tab.• When the check comes, the lobbyists almost always pick up the tab.• In addition, my company will pick up the tab for all legal and moving expenses.• I wonder to myself as I pick up the tab for breakfast.• The company's picking up the bill for my trip to Hawaii.• There is a growing, often unstated, anticipation that the private sector will pick up the bill for public services.• Everything depended on contributors picking up the bill in ten, twenty or thirty years.pick up the pieces (of something)• It has already made behind-the-scenes preparations to share the job of picking up the pieces.• This hopefully will cause them a fixture congestion around April/May with us hopefully been able to pick up the pieces.• Whimper like a whipped puppy, Jay, have a drink and pick up the pieces.• The town is beginning to pick up the pieces after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.• As proved by history, women are the ones who have to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of war.• Then the red mists cleared and she sank to her knees, picking up the pieces, moaning softly.• I picked up the pieces myself.• In her motherly concerned way, she was cosseting him as he tried to pick up the pieces of his life.• In the more stable area people were returning to pick up the pieces of their lives. pick up the threads (of something)• She gradually started to pick up the threads of her life.• The good thing is that he's trying to pick up the threads of his life again.• Enough to do picking up the threads of his own life.pick your feet up• Ronnie, stop shuffling and pick your feet up.pick-upˈpick-up noun 1 vehicle [countable] especially American EnglishTTC a small truck with low sides that is used for carrying goods2 improvement [countable] an improvement in something which will be good for economic successpick-up in There are signs of a pick-up in high street spending.3 collection [countable, uncountable] an occasion when someone or something is collected from a place The price includes travel from your local pick-up point in the UK to your hotel in Paris. trash pick-up4 person [countable] informalSEX/HAVE SEX WITH a stranger that you meet in a bar, at a party etc and have sex with5 music [countable] an electronic part on a musical instrument, especially an electric guitar, that makes the sound louder6 speed [uncountable] American EnglishTTC the rate at which a vehicle can increase its speed SYN acceleration It was a small car, but it had good pick-up.
Examples from the Corpuspick-up• Malls could be used more as a pick-up point for merchandise after orders are made online.• A sports car, a pick-up, a retro car?• Over the radio comes the call for a pick-up in the next street over.• a pick-up in textbook sales• I am not a bar pick-up kind of person, and I usually find the whole scene pretty cheesy.• a shuttle-bus pick-up• My old car had excellent pick-up.• Garbage pick-ups are on Tuesdays and Fridays.• Dad's old pick-up was parked outside.• The Waterbase brush has a special mix of synthetic filaments designed for optimum paint pick-up.pick-up point• Furthermore, it's all very well saying that there are 22 pick-up points but how do you get to them?• Malls could be used more as a pick-up point for merchandise after orders are made online.• But a car was seen slowing down at what might have been a pick-up point on the A12.• There was a horseshoe put-down and pick-up point between an ascending and descending ramp but parking there was prohibited.• Our house was less than a kilometre from the pick-up point.• Exact timings and location of your pick-up point will be forwarded to you with your travel documentation.From Longman Business Dictionarypick up phrasal verb1[intransitive] if business or trade picks up, it improves2[transitive] pick something → up informal to buy something, especially for a low priceHomes here can be picked up for as little as £30,000.3pick up the bill/tab informal to pay for something, especially when it is not your responsibility to payThe contractors do not want to pick up the bill for problems which are not of their making. → pick→ See Verb tablepick-upˈpick-up noun1[countable usually singular] an improvement or increase in a type of economic activitypick-up inThere are signs of a pick-up in high street spending.2 (also pick-up truck) [countable] especially American English a small truck with low sides that is used for carrying goods3[countable, uncountable] an occasion when someone or something is collected from a placeA pick-up had been arranged for 5.30pm.Where’s the pick-up point?