The word ‘pick‘ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning is to choose or remove.

For example:

  • You have to pick either Joe or David. (choose)
  • I love picking flowers. (remove)


Pick is a regular verb. The past tense and past participle is picked.

phrasal verbs with pick

Phrasal verbs with ‘pick’ include:

  • pick apart
    meaning – criticise/find faults with something
    example – Stop picking apart my food! Cook your own dinner if you don’t like it.
  • pick at
    meaning – scrape with your fingers, constantly criticise or eat very little
    example – If you keep picking at that scab, it will never heal.
  • pick off
    meaning – remove individuals from a group or pull something off a surface
    example – Who has picked all the icing off the cake?
  • pick on
    meaning – be nasty to someone
    example – I was picked on when I was a child, now I’m handsome and successful. Who is laughing now?
  • pick out
    meaning – select from many options
    example – I picked out a nice blue dress to wear with my new boots.
    pick through
    meaning – look for something amongst a lot of things/ a mess
    example – The investigators are picking through the wreckage for clues.
  • pick up
    meaning – improve, collect, or lift from the floor
    example – Sales have picked up this month, I may have to hire more staff.
  • pick up after
    meaning – clean someone else’s mess
    example – I’ve picked up after the kids all weekend, I deserve wine.
  • pick up on
    meaning – notice something
    example – My boyfriend picked up on my bad mood and bought me my favourite chocolates.

picture examples

phrasal verbs with pick

Let’s learn the meaning of the phrasal verbs that contain the verb ‘pick’ in more detail and see some examples in use.

phrasal verbs with pick - pick apart
phrasal verbs with pick - pick at
phrasal verbs with pick - pick off
phrasal verbs with pick - pick on
phrasal verbs with pick - pick out
phrasal verbs with pick - pick through
phrasal verbs with pick - pick up after
phrasal verbs with pick - pick up on
phrasal verbs with pick - pick up

You can download a table of phrasal verbs with pick below.