A lot vs. Alot: 9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[pik-uh l] /ˈpɪk əl/
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.
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English pikkyll, pekille < Middle Dutch, Middle Low German pekel (> German Pökel) brine, pickle
6. plight, quandary; fix, bind, scrape, jam.


[pik-uh l] /ˈpɪk əl/
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for pickles
  • Soy sauce, lemons, and pickles might also have made cameos over the years.
  • They are called pickles, that's what everyone calls them.
  • Anything that got by me made it into a jar of pickles.
  • Wasabi-and-olive-oil pickles were tart and suitable for palate prepping.
  • She explained how modern chemistry can produce almost any kind of scent synthetically, even popcorn and pickles.
  • There's certainly satisfaction to be found in a juicy burger accompanied by vinegary pickles, or the thick, salty crab dip.
  • If you're looking for eggplant pickles or sarsaparilla-root powder, this is the place.
  • The pickles are ready for consumption in a few weeks.
  • Because of their long shelf life, pickles are important sources of sustenance for travelers and impoverished families.
  • Watch the races while dining on barbecue prime rib or munching on deep-fried pickles.
British Dictionary definitions for pickles


(often pl) vegetables, such as cauliflowers, onions, etc, preserved in vinegar, brine, etc
any food preserved in this way
a liquid or marinade, such as spiced vinegar, for preserving vegetables, meat, fish, etc
(mainly US & Canadian) a cucumber that has been preserved and flavoured in a pickling solution, such as brine or vinegar
(informal) an awkward or difficult situation: to be in a pickle
(Brit, informal) a mischievous child
verb (transitive)
to preserve in a pickling liquid
to immerse (a metallic object) in a liquid, such as an acid, to remove surface scale
Derived Forms
pickler, noun
Word Origin
C14: perhaps from Middle Dutch pekel; related to German Pökel brine
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
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Word Origin and History for pickles



c.1400, probably from Middle Dutch pekel "pickle, brine," or related words in Low German and East Frisian (cf. Dutch pekel, East Frisian päkel, German pökel), of uncertain origin or original meaning. Klein suggests the name of a medieval Dutch fisherman who developed the process. Originally a sauce served with meat or fowl; meaning "cucumber preserved in pickle" first recorded 1707, via use of the word for the salty liquid in which meat, etc. was preserved (c.1500). Figurative sense of "sorry plight" first recorded 1560s, from the time when the word still meant a sauce served on meat about to be eaten. Meaning "troublesome boy" is from 1788, perhaps from the notion of being "imbued" with roguery.


1550s, from pickle (n.). Related: Pickled; pickling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for pickles


  1. (also picklement) A parlous situation; predicament; dilemma: I was in a sad pickle when I lost my job (1609+)
  2. A torpedo (WWII Navy)
  3. A bullet: He fired six pickles at the knob (1940s+)
verb phrase

To hit the ball very hard (1908+ Baseball)


To ruin; wreck: This will promptly pickle her college chances (1950s+)

[first noun sense fr 1500s British slang in a pickle and may refer to the situation of a mouse fallen into a pickling vat; picklement is a handy echo of predicament]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with pickles


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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