pick up

pick up
pick up
1. to tidy up. (See also pick up (after someone or something).) •

When you finish playing, you have to pick up.

Please pick up after yourself.

2. to get busy; to go faster. •

Things usually pick up around here about 8:00.

I hope business picks up a little later. It's boring here.

* * *
{v.} 1. To take up; lift. * /During the morning Mrs. Carter picked up sticks in the yard./ 2. {informal} To pay for someone else. * /After lunch, in the restaurant, Uncle Bob picked up the check./ 3. To take on or away; receive; get. * /At the next corner the bus stopped and picked up three people./ 4. To get from different places at different times; a little at a time; collect. * /He had picked up rare coins in seaports all over the world./ 5. To get without trying; get accidentally. * /He picked up knowledge of radio just by staying around the radio station./ * /Billy picked up a cold at school./ 6a. To gather together; collect. * /When the carpenter finished making the cabinet, he began picking up his tools./ 6b. To make neat and tidy; tidy up; put in order. * /Pick up your room before Mother sees it./ 6c. To gather things together; tidy a place up. * /It's almost dinner time, children. Time to pick up and get ready./ 7. To catch the sound of. * /He picked up Chicago on the radio./ 8. To get acquainted with (someone) without an introduction; make friends with (a person of the other sex). * /Mother told Mary not to walk home by herself from the party because some stranger might try to pick her up./ 9. {informal} To take to the police station or jail; arrest. * /Police picked the man up for burglary./ 10. To recognize the trail of a hunted person or animal; find. * /State police picked up the bandit's trail./ * /The dogs picked up the fox's smell./ 11. To make (someone) feel better; refresh. * /A little food will pick you up./ 12a. To increase (the speed); make (the speed) faster. * /The teacher told her singing class to pick up the tempo./ * /The car picked up speed./ 12b. To become faster; become livelier. * /The speed of the train began to pick up./ * /After the band practiced for a while, the music began to pick up./ 13. To start again after interruption; go on with. * /The class picked up the story where they had left it before the holiday./ * /They met after five years, and picked up their friendship as if there had been no interruption./ 14. {informal} To become better; recover; gain. * /She picked up in her schoolwork./ * /He picked up gradually after a long illness./ * /His spirits picked up as he came near home./

Dictionary of American idioms. 2013.

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