- pick up
Date: 14th century
a. to take hold of and lift up
b. to gather together ; collect <picked up all the pieces> c. to clean up ; tidy 2. to take (passengers or freight) into a vehicle 3. a. to acquire casually or by chance <picked up a valuable antique at an auction> b. to acquire by study or experience ; learn <picking up a great deal of knowledge in the process — Robert Schleicher> c. to obtain especially by payment ; buy <picked up some groceries> d. to acquire (a player) especially from another team through a trade or by financial recompense e. to accept for the purpose of paying <offered to pick up the tab> f. to come down with ; catch <picked up a cold> g. gain, earn <picked up a few yards on the last play> <picked up her first victory> 4. a. to enter informally into conversation or companionship with (a previously unknown person) <had a brief affair with a girl he picked up in a bar> b. to take into custody <the police picked up the fugitive> 5. a. to catch sight of ; perceive <picked up the harbor lights> b. to come to and follow <picked up the outlaw's trail> c. to bring within range of sight or hearing <pick up distant radio signals> d. understand, catch <didn't pick up the hint> 6. a. revive b. increase 7. to resume after a break ; continue <pick up the discussion tomorrow> 8. to assume responsibility for guarding (an opponent) in an athletic contest intransitive verb 1. to recover or increase speed, vigor, or activity ; improve <after the strike, business picked up> <the wind began to pick up> 2. to put things in order <was always picking up after her> 3. to pack up one's belongings <couldn't just pick up and leave>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.