an excursion or outing in which the participants carry food with them and share a meal in the open air.
the food eaten on such an excursion.
Also called picnic ham, picnic shoulder. a section of pork shoulder, usually boned, smoked, and weighing 4–6 pounds. Compare daisy ( def 2 ).
Informal. an enjoyable experience or time, easy task, etc.: Being laid up in a hospital is no picnic.
verb (used without object), picnicked, picnicking.
to go on or take part in a picnic.

1740–50; < German Pic-nic (now Picknick) < French pique-nique, rhyming compound < ?

picnicker, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To picnic
World English Dictionary
picnic (ˈpɪknɪk)
1.  a trip or excursion to the country, seaside, etc, on which people bring food to be eaten in the open air
2.  a.  any informal meal eaten outside
 b.  (as modifier): a picnic lunch
3.  informal chiefly (Austral) a troublesome situation or experience
4.  informal no picnic a hard or disagreeable task
vb , -nics, -nicking, -nicked
5.  (intr) to eat a picnic
[C18: from French piquenique, of unknown origin]

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

1748 (in Chesterfield's "Letters"), but rare before c.1800 as an Eng. institution, from Fr. piquenique (1692), perhaps a reduplication of piquer "to pick, peck," from O.Fr. (see pike (2)), or the second element may be nique "worthless thing," from a Gmc. source. Originally
a fashionable pot-luck social affair, not necessarily out of doors. Figurative sense of "something easy" is from 1886.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see no picnic.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
These easy to make picnic food recipes travel well and taste delicious.
It's an easy stroll to get to picnic benches overlooking the falls.
Picnic options can be limited, and outdoor eating requires inconvenient amounts
  of plastic cutlery and paper towels.
Because the pitcher of beer placed at my outdoor picnic table continues to be
  miraculously cold.
Idioms & Phrases
Images for picnic
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature