Meaning of PICKLE in English

I. ˈpikəl noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English pekille, probably from Middle Dutch pekel, peekel; perhaps akin to Middle Dutch picken, pecken to prick, pick — more at pick


a. : a salt-and-water solution for preserving or corning fish or meat : brine

b. : plain or spiced vinegar for preserving vegetables, fruit, fish, eggs, oysters

c. : a bath usually of sulfuric acid and salt for treating skins after bating in chrome tanning

d. : a bath of dilute sulfuric or nitric acid used to cleanse or brighten the surface of castings or other articles of metal

e. : a solution of caustic soda or other antiseptic used for cleaning wort or beer pipes

f. : any of various solutions (as of alcohol or formaldehyde) in which organic substances are soaked for preservation


a. : an unpleasant or difficult situation or condition : plight , predicament , trouble

b. chiefly Britain : a state of disorder : mess

small boy who had … left a bathroom in a pickle — C.S.Lewis


a. : an article of food (as a cucumber) that has been preserved in brine or in vinegar

sour as a pickle

b. dialect : a fresh cucumber


a. Britain : a mischievous or troublesome person

b. : a person with a forbidding face or unsociable disposition

Synonyms: see predicament

- in pickle

II. transitive verb

( pickled ; pickled ; pickling -k(ə)liŋ ; pickles )


a. : to steep in a solution of salt or vinegar for preservation

pickle herring

pickle fruit in syrup and vinegar

b. : to soak in a chemical solution in order to cleanse

pickle steel castings

or condition

pickled leather

pickled seeds to induce sprouting

c. : to steep or soak (as seed) in a fungicide for the control of seed-borne diseases

d. : to hold (cut flowers) under refrigeration for an extended period of time with or without the use of a material in order to lengthen the life


a. : to give an antique appearance to — used of copies or imitations of paintings by the old masters

b. : to give a light finish to (as a piece of furniture) by bleaching or painting and wiping

paneled in pickled pine

3. : to rub salt or salt and vinegar on (a wound made by flogging)

III. verb

Etymology: Middle English pikelen, from piken to pick + -len -le

1. chiefly Scotland : to pick a little at a time : eat sparingly or mincingly

2. chiefly Scotland : trifle , dawdle

3. chiefly Scotland : pilfer

IV. noun

( -s )

Etymology: perhaps from pickle (III)

1. : grain , kernel

2. dialect : a small quantity or amount — usually with no preposition following

get my pickle meal — Sir Walter Scott

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.