1. An edible product, such as a cucumber, that has been preserved and flavored in a solution of brine or vinegar.
2. A solution of brine or vinegar, often spiced, for preserving and flavoring food.
3. A chemical solution, such as an acid, that is used as a bath to remove scale and oxides from the surface of metals before plating or finishing.
4. Informal A disagreeable or troublesome situation; a plight. See Synonyms at predicament.
5. Baseball A rundown.
tr.v. pick·led, pick·ling, pick·les
1. To preserve or flavor (food) in a solution of brine or vinegar.
2. To treat (metal) in a chemical bath.
[Middle English pikle, highly seasoned sauce, probably from Middle Dutch pekel, pickle, brine; perhaps akin to Middle Dutch peken, to prick, pierce, and English PICK1.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.