Pronunciation Verb

pluck (plucks, present participle plucking; past and past participle plucked)

  1. (transitive) To pull something sharply; to pull something out
    She plucked the phone from her bag and dialled.
    • 1900, Charles W. Chesnutt, The House_Behind_the_Cedars_(book), Ch.I:
      The girl stooped to pluck a rose, and as she bent over it, her profile was clearly outlined.
  2. (transitive) To take or remove (someone) quickly from a particular place or situation.
  3. (transitive, music) To gently play a single string, e.g. on a guitar, violin etc.
    Whereas a piano strikes the string, a harpsichord plucks it.
  4. (transitive) To remove feathers from a bird.
    • 1879, R[ichard] J[efferies], chapter 1, in The Amateur Poacher, London: Smith, Elder, & Co., […], OCLC 752825175 ↗:
      Molly the dairymaid came a little way from the rickyard, and said she would pluck the pigeon that very night after work. She was always ready to do anything for us boys; and we could never quite make out why they scolded her so for an idle hussy indoors. It seemed so unjust.
  5. (transitive) To rob, fleece, steal forcibly
    The horny highwayman plucked his victims to their underwear, or attractive ones all the way.
  6. (transitive) To play a string instrument pizzicato.
    Plucking a bow instrument may cause a string to break.
  7. (intransitive) To pull or twitch sharply.
    to pluck at somebody's sleeve
  8. (UK, university slang, obsolete) To be rejected after failing an examination for a degree.
  9. Of a glacier: to transport individual pieces of bedrock by means of gradual erosion through freezing and thawing.
Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • French: voler
  • Russian: гра́бить


  1. An instance of plucking
    Those tiny birds are hardly worth the tedious pluck
  2. The lungs, heart with trachea and often oesophagus removed from slaughtered animals.
  3. (informal) Guts, nerve, fortitude or persistence.
    He didn't get far with the attempt, but you have to admire his pluck.
  4. (AAVE, slang) Cheap wine.
Translations Translations

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