a. The act or process of picking up: the pickup and delivery of farm produce.
b. Sports The act of striking or fielding a ball after it has touched the ground: a good pickup and throw from third base.
c. Capacity for acceleration: a sports car with good pickup.
d. Informal An improvement in condition or activity: a pickup in sales.
e. Slang An arrest by a law enforcement officer.
2. One that is picked up, especially:
a. Passengers or freight: Taxi drivers expect good tips from airport pickups.
b. Informal A hitchhiker.
c. Slang A stranger with whom casual acquaintance is made, usually in anticipation of sexual relations.
3. Accounting A balance brought forward.
4. Previous journalistic copy to which succeeding copy is added.
5. Music See upbeat.
6. One that picks up, especially:
a. A pickup truck.
b. The rotary rake on a piece of machinery, such as a harvester, that picks up windrowed hay or straw.
a. A transducer that converts vibrations, as of a phonograph needle or guitar string, into electrical impulses for subsequent conversion into sound.
b. The tone arm of a record player.
a. The reception of light or sound waves for conversion to electrical impulses.
b. The apparatus used for such reception.
c. A telecast originating outside a studio.
d. The apparatus for transmitting a broadcast from an outside place to the broadcasting station.
Being, relating to, or involving a group of people assembled informally for a temporary purpose: a pickup orchestra; a pickup baseball game.
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.