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.
to guard, as with pickets.
to post as a picket.
verb (used without object)
to stand or march as a picket.

1680–90; < French piquet. See pike2, -et

picketer, noun
counterpicket, noun, verb
unpicketed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
picket (ˈpɪkɪt)
1.  a pointed stake, post, or peg that is driven into the ground to support a fence, provide a marker for surveying, etc
2.  an individual or group that stands outside an establishment to make a protest, to dissuade or prevent employees or clients from entering, etc
3.  Also: picquet a small detachment of troops or warships positioned towards the enemy to give early warning of attack
4.  to post or serve as pickets at (a factory, embassy, etc): let's go and picket the shop
5.  to guard (a main body or place) by using or acting as a picket
6.  (tr) to fasten (a horse or other animal) to a picket
7.  (tr) to fence (an area, boundary, etc) with pickets
[C18: from French piquet, from Old French piquer to prick; see pike²]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1690, "pointed stake (for defense against cavalry, etc.)," from Fr. piquet, from piquer "to pierce" (see pike (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.
The verb in this sense also is from 1867.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
If there were thousands of us picketing, that had meaning.
People only started noticing and fighting him when he started picketing
It is a sensitive subject and companies fear picketing and other similar
Some even provided coffee and doughnuts for their beloved doormen picketing at
  their door.
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