9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pik-it] /ˈpɪk ɪt/
a post, stake, pale, or peg that is used in a fence or barrier, to fasten down a tent, etc.
a person stationed by a union or the like outside a factory, store, mine, etc., in order to dissuade or prevent workers or customers from entering it during a strike.
a person engaged in any similar demonstration, as against a government's policies or actions, before an embassy, office building, construction project, etc.
Military. a soldier or detachment of soldiers placed on a line forward of a position to warn against an enemy advance.
Navy, Air Force. an aircraft or ship performing similar sentinel duty.
verb (used with object)
to enclose within a picket fence or stockade, as for protection, imprisonment, etc.:
to picket a lawn; to picket captives.
to fasten or tether to a picket.
to place pickets in front of or around (a factory, store, mine, embassy, etc.), as during a strike or demonstration.
  1. to guard, as with pickets.
  2. to post as a picket.
verb (used without object)
to stand or march as a picket.
Origin of picket
1680-90; < French piquet. See pike2, -et
Related forms
picketer, noun
counterpicket, noun, verb
unpicketed, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the web for picket
  • Three markers surrounded by a white picket fence mark the resting place of the park's namesake.
  • Imagine that you are looking at a dog that is standing behind a picket fence.
  • With more or less difficulty he would be conducted to a picket rope outside and fastened there.
  • Imagine two people standing on opposite sides of a tall picket fence.
  • In fact, it may not have been a tree at all but a big wooden picket with clumps of rotting cherries stapled to it.
  • The field was filled with some two thousand dark-brown long-billed ducks, penned in by a white picket fence.
  • Levittown was the original suburbia: a place of identical detached single-family houses with white picket fences.
  • Not surprisingly the best teachers in the school weren't the ones on the picket lines.
  • The white picket fence was a metaphor for decent housing, life insurance, mortgages and college educations.
  • And blood stained the pavement where they now picket.
British Dictionary definitions for picket


a pointed stake, post, or peg that is driven into the ground to support a fence, provide a marker for surveying, etc
an individual or group that stands outside an establishment to make a protest, to dissuade or prevent employees or clients from entering, etc
Also picquet. a small detachment of troops or warships positioned towards the enemy to give early warning of attack
to post or serve as pickets at (a factory, embassy, etc): let's go and picket the shop
to guard (a main body or place) by using or acting as a picket
(transitive) to fasten (a horse or other animal) to a picket
(transitive) to fence (an area, boundary, etc) with pickets
Derived Forms
picketer, noun
Word Origin
C18: from French piquet, from Old French piquer to prick; see pike²
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for picket

1680s, "pointed stake (for defense against cavalry, etc.)," from French piquet "pointed stake," from piquer "to pierce" (see pike (n.2)). Sense of "troops posted to watch for enemy" first recorded 1761; that of "striking workers stationed to prevent others from entering a factory" is from 1867. Picket line is 1856 in the military sense, 1945 of labor strikes.


1745, "to enclose with pickets," from picket (n.). The sense in labor strikes, protests, etc., is attested from 1867. Related: Picketed; picketing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for picket

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for picket

Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with picket

Nearby words for picket