from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To remove or detach by grasping and pulling abruptly with the fingers; pick: pluck a flower; pluck feathers from a chicken.
  • transitive v. To pull out the hair or feathers of: pluck a chicken.
  • transitive v. To remove abruptly or forcibly: plucked the child from school in midterm.
  • transitive v. To give an abrupt pull to; tug at: pluck a sleeve.
  • transitive v. Music To sound (the strings of an instrument) by pulling and releasing them with the fingers or a plectrum.
  • intransitive v. To give an abrupt pull; tug.
  • n. The act or an instance of plucking.
  • n. Resourceful courage and daring in the face of difficulties; spirit.
  • n. The heart, liver, windpipe, and lungs of a slaughtered animal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To pull something sharply; to pull something out
  • v. To gently play a single string, e.g. on a guitar, violin etc.
  • v. To remove feathers from a bird.
  • v. To rob, fleece, steal forcibly
  • v. To play a string instrument pizzicato
  • v. To pull or twitch sharply
  • n. An instance of plucking
  • n. The lungs, heart with trachea and often oesophagus removed from slaughtered animals.
  • n. Guts, nerve, fortitude or persistence.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of plucking; a pull; a twitch.
  • n. The heart, liver, and lights of an animal.
  • n. Spirit; courage; indomitable resolution; fortitude.
  • n. The act of plucking, or the state of being plucked, at college. See Pluck, v. t., 4.
  • n. The lyrie.
  • intransitive v. To make a motion of pulling or twitching; -- usually with at.
  • transitive v. To pull; to draw.
  • transitive v. Especially, to pull with sudden force or effort, or to pull off or out from something, with a twitch; to twitch; also, to gather, to pick
  • transitive v. To strip of, or as of, feathers.
  • transitive v. To reject at an examination for degrees.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pull off, as feathers from a fowl, or fruit or flowers from a plant; pick off; gather; pick or cull, as berries or flowers.
  • To pull; draw; drag: used either literally or figuratively.
  • Especially To pull sharply; pull with sudden force or jerk; give a tugor twitch to; twitch; snatch; twang, as the strings of a harp or guitar.
  • To strip, as a fowl, by pulling off its feathers; strip the feathers from: as, to pluck a fowl.
  • To reject, after a university or other examination, as not coming up to the required standard.
  • To summon or muster up: as, to pluck up courage, spirit, etc.
  • Intrans., to collect one's self; gather spirit or courage.
  • In geology, to pry off or tear away, as blocks of rock from the lee side of cliffs or projections, or more moderate slopes: said of the action of moving ice, as in glaciers. See plucking.
  • To pull sharply, as if at the folds of a skirt: used with at.
  • In geology, to break off easily in large pieces, as granite. See plucking.
  • n. A pull; a tug; a twitch; a snatch: as, he gave the sword a pluck.
  • n. A blow; a stroke.
  • n. A bout; around.
  • n. The heart, liver, and lungs or lights of a sheep, ox, or other animal used as butchers' meat: also used figuratively or humorously of the like parts of a human being.
  • n. Hence Heart; courage; spirit; determined energy; resolution in the face of difficulties.
  • n. The pogge, Agonus cataphractus.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. sell something to or obtain something from by energetic and especially underhanded activity
  • v. look for and gather
  • n. the act of pulling and releasing a taut cord
  • v. strip of feathers
  • v. rip off; ask an unreasonable price
  • v. pull or pull out sharply
  • v. pull lightly but sharply with a plucking motion
  • n. the trait of showing courage and determination in spite of possible loss or injury


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English plukken, from Old English pluccian, probably from Vulgar Latin *piluccāre, ultimately from Latin pilāre, from pilus, hair.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English plucken, plukken, plockien, from Old English pluccian, ploccian ("to pluck, pull away, tear"), also Old English plyċċan ("to pluck, pull, snatch; pluck with desire"; > Modern English plitch), from Proto-Germanic *plukkōnan, *plukkijanan (“to pluck”), of uncertain and disputed origin. Perhaps related to Old English pullian ("to pull, draw; pluck off; snatch"). Cognate with Dutch plukken ("to pluck"), Limburgish plógte ("to pluck"), Low German plukken ("to pluck"), German pflücken ("to pluck, pick"), Danish plukke ("to pick"), Swedish plocka ("to pick, pluck, cull"), Icelandic plokka, plukka ("to pluck, pull"). More at pull.


  • His words set me thinking, and I had to recognise, rather bitterly, that what I call pluck did not form a great part of my birthright.

    A Poor Man's House

  • But of march he knows which there is no heal to "pluck from a mental stop a rooted sorrow."

    Archive 2009-11-01

  • And indeed, much pluck is roused in a dauntless fashion in space.

    REVIEW: Larklight by Philip Reeve

  • September 18, 2007 southern style big boys~ pluck from the vine, slice thinly sprinkle with sugar and salt

    One Deep Breath-Recipe

  • Jennifer, you know as well as I that hardy pluck is not what San Miguel Gringos are made of.

    Airfares and airports

  • These I would pluck from the plants, pinching them off with my thumb nail.

    Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden

  • We fatuously hoped that we might pluck from the human tragedy itself a consciousness of a common destiny which should bring its own healing, that we might extract from life's very misfortunes a power of coöperation which should be effective against them.

    Twenty Years at Hull-House, With Autobiographical Notes

  • A pig's "pluck" -- _i. e._, the "lights," or lungs, with the windpipe attached.

    Voice Production in Singing and Speaking Based on Scientific Principles (Fourth Edition, Revised and Enlarged)

  • After the struggle at the end of the centre, when I had to knit hundreds of stitches (literally) for every one I was allowed to pluck from the border, it’s a great pleasure to be steaming along so comparatively fast.

    Jean's Knitting

  • I was actually touched at certain moments — mainly because of Ewan MacGregor’s superb acting (his swashbuckler twinkle-eyed pluck is fun as hell, and such a lovely throwback to Errol Flynn and the like, and his reaction to Anakin’s deceit and defeat sort of jut out of the movie to say “look this is what acting looks like”).

    inkblurt · Blather about the movie, I will.


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  • my friend's brother nicknamed him "Pluck" for no apparent reason

    December 2, 2010

  • This word was chosen as Wordnik word of the day.

    November 11, 2009

  • This word was chosen as Wordnik word of the day.

    November 11, 2009

  • Citation on plucky.

    February 28, 2009

  • "... the pluckiest lads and the finest body of men, as physique, in the service of our sovereign."

    Joyce, Ulysses, 15

    February 5, 2007