Pick up is certainly not a strange phrase to you anymore, but do you know all the meanings of this phrasal verb? Let’s check again with Hoctienganh.

Watching: What does Pick up mean

In the process of learning English, you must not have expected that the seemingly simple phrase “pick up” could be understood in 10 ways depending on different contexts. Let’s explore this multi-meaningful phrase.


1. Lift or carry something.

She put her coat on, picked up her bag, and left.

(She put on her coat, carried her bag, and left.)

2. Learn through experience, not by trying

When I got back from Tokyo I realised that I had picked up quite a few Japanese words.

(When I returned from Tokyo I realized that I had learned a lot from Japan.)

3. There is progress or improvement

Business was very slow for the first few months, but it picked up in the new year.

(Business was very slow in the early months, but there was progress in the new year.)

4. Having an infectious disease

I picked up a chest infection towards the end of the week.

(I got a chest infection at the weekend.)

5. Arrest or detain someone

The bank was robbed at 6pm. The police had picked up 3 suspiciousness by 9.

(The bank was robbed at 6 o’clock. The police arrested 3 suspects at 9 o’clock.) 6. Picking up someone by car

Pick me up at 6 – I’ll be waiting outside the train station.

(Pick me up at 6 o’clock – I’ll wait for you in front of the station).

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7. Buy something

Could you pick up some milk on your way home please?

(Can you buy milk on the way home?).

8. Paying bills, especially for others

We went to a lovely restaurant, but I’m not sure how much it cost: John picked up the bill.

(We ate at a nice restaurant, but I don’t know how much it cost: John paid the bill.)

9. Continuing something that was paused for a while

We’re out of time, so we’ll end the meeting now, but we can pick it up again next week.

(We don’t have time anymore, so we have to stop meeting, but we will meet again next week.)

10. Receive broadcast on TV, radio

We can’t pick up channel 5 in this area.

(We cannot watch channel 5 in this area)

Some examples of the phrase PICK UP

Verb phrases PICK APART Criticize, find errors eg: The critics PICKED the film APART. Critics have raved about this film.

Phrasal verb PICK AT Eat reluctantly eg: I wasn’t very hungry so I just PICKED AT my food. I’m not hungry so I just grudgingly ate my food

Synonyms PICK OFF Target individuals for collective change eg: There were many rebels against the policy, but the government PICK OFF the leaders. There were many people rebelling against this policy, but the government targeted the leaders to change them.

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Verb phrase PICK ON Disturb, annoy, tease someone eg: My friends always PICK ON me because I don’t sing well. My friends always make fun of me because I don’t sing well.

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Verb Phrase PICK OUT Choice eg: She PICKED OUT the ones she wanted to take and left the rest. She chose the things she wanted to take and left the rest.

PICK THROUGH To look for something, to mess something up The police have been PICKING THROUGH the wreckage for clues. eg: The police are looking for clues in the ruins.

Verb Phrase PICK UP Improved

eg: Sales PICKED UP a bit during the Christmas period. Sales did pick up a bit during the Christmas period.

Verb phrase PICK UP AFTER him because he leaves things all over the office eg: I always have to PICK UP AFTER him because he leaves things all over the office. I always have to clean up his mess because he always leaves everything at the office.

Phrasal verb PICK UP ON Meaning 1: Correct someone when they say something wrong eg: My teacher PICKS UP ON any mistake I make and corrects me. The teacher corrects my mistakes and corrects me.

Meaning 2: Pay attention to what no one else notices Vi du: He’s very quick to PICK UP ON new trends. He was very quick to notice new trends.

Meaning 3: To react to something The government has PICKED UP ON the reports in the media. The government has just responded to the media reports.

Meaning 4: Comment on something said earlier in a conversation Eg: I’d like to PICK UP ON the point that Jill made. I want to comment on what Jill just said.

Phrasal verb PICK YOURSELF UP Recover from a fall eg: It took him a long time to PICK HIMSELF UP after his wife left him. It took him a long time to pick himself up after his wife left.

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Meaning of the word Pick up in some English sample sentences

Pick up the money–>Pick up your clothes–>Pick up your clothes–>Pick up your clothes–>Pick up your things–>Pick up your things .Please pick up the pen–>Please pick up the tab–>I’ll pay the bill.He goes to pick up customers–>He went to pick up the customer.She didn’t pick up the phone–>She didn’t pick up the phone.Can I pick up a package?–>Can I pick up the package?to pick up- ->pick up Pick up bad habits–>Infect with bad habits.–Pick up your room.–>Clean the room.pick up ms marie–>go pick her up a girl–>accidentally meet a girl Pick up the knife handle!–>Pick up the handle!I’ll pick up the tab–>I’ll pay the billI pick up my friends.–>I pick up my friends.I’ll pick up the tab.

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-> Let me pay for it.