1. An edible product, such as a cucumber, that has been preserved and flavored in a solution of brine or vinegar.
2. A solution of brine or vinegar, often spiced, for preserving and flavoring food.
3. A chemical solution, such as an acid, that is used as a bath to remove scale and oxides from the surface of metals before plating or finishing.
4. Informal A disagreeable or troublesome situation; a plight. See Synonyms at predicament.
5. Baseball A rundown.
tr.v. pick·led, pick·ling, pick·les
1. To preserve or flavor (food) in a solution of brine or vinegar.
2. To treat (metal) in a chemical bath.
[Middle English pikle, highly seasoned sauce, probably from Middle Dutch pekel, pickle, brine; perhaps akin to Middle Dutch peken, to prick, pierce, and English PICK1.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus