1 [pik-uhl]
a cucumber that has been preserved in brine, vinegar, or the like.
Often, pickles. any other vegetable, as cauliflower, celery, etc., preserved in vinegar and eaten as a relish.
something preserved in a brine or marinade.
a liquid usually prepared with salt or vinegar for preserving or flavoring fish, meat, vegetables, etc.; brine or marinade.
Metallurgy. an acid or other chemical solution in which metal objects are dipped to remove oxide scale or other adhering substances.
Informal. a troublesome or awkward situation; predicament: I was in a pickle after the check bounced.
Informal. a sour, disagreeable person.
verb (used with object), pickled, pickling.
to preserve or steep in brine or other liquid.
to treat with a chemical solution, as for the purpose of cleaning.
to give a pale, streaked finish to (wood) by applying and partly removing paint or by bleaching, as to give an appearance of age.
Slang. to store; prepare for long-range storage: Let's pickle these old cars for a few years.

1400–50; late Middle English pikkyll, pekille < Middle Dutch, Middle Low German pekel (> German Pökel) brine, pickle

6. plight, quandary; fix, bind, scrape, jam.
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2 [pik-uhl]
noun Scot. and North England.
a single grain or kernel, as of barley or corn.
a small amount; a little.

1545–55; perhaps noun use of pickle to take tiny bits of food in eating, frequentative of pick1; see -le

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pickle (ˈpɪkəl)
1.  (often plural) vegetables, such as cauliflowers, onions, etc, preserved in vinegar, brine, etc
2.  any food preserved in this way
3.  a liquid or marinade, such as spiced vinegar, for preserving vegetables, meat, fish, etc
4.  chiefly (US), (Canadian) a cucumber that has been preserved and flavoured in a pickling solution, such as brine or vinegar
5.  informal an awkward or difficult situation: to be in a pickle
6.  informal (Brit) a mischievous child
7.  to preserve in a pickling liquid
8.  to immerse (a metallic object) in a liquid, such as an acid, to remove surface scale
[C14: perhaps from Middle Dutch pekel; related to German Pökel brine]

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

c.1440, probably from M.Du. pekel "pickle, brine," from a Low Ger. root of uncertain origin or meaning (cf. Du. pekel, E.Fris. päkel, Ger. pökel). Originally a sauce served with meat or fowl; meaning "cucumber preserved in pickle" first recorded 1707. Figurative sense of "sorry plight" first
recorded 1562.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see in a fix (pickle).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Summer's not the only time to pickle and preserve in-season ingredients.
Patrons can also order box lunches that include fruit, homemade chips, a pickle and a cookie.
The process is similar to that of wine or pickle making.
It would probably be similar to tasting pickle juice and cottage cheese.
Idioms & Phrases
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