pluck

pluck (v.) late O.E. ploccian "pull off, cull," from W.Gmc. *plokken (Cf. M.L.G. plucken, M.Du. plocken, Flem. plokken), perhaps from V.L. *piluccare (Cf. O.Fr. peluchier, late 12c.), a frequentative, ultimately from L. pilare "pull out hair," from pilus "hair." But despite the similarities, OED finds difficulties with this and cites gaps in historical evidence. Related: Plucked; plucking. Noun sense of "courage, boldness" (1785) is originally boxing slang, from meaning "heart, viscera" (1610s) as that which is "plucked" from slaughtered livestock. Perhaps influenced by figurative use in pluck up (one's courage, etc.), attested from c.1300.
To pluck a rose, an expression said to be used by women for going to the necessary house, which in the country usually stands in the garden. [F. Grose, "Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue," 1785]
This euphemistic use is attested from 1610s.

Etymology dictionary. 2014.

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  • plück — plück·er; …   English syllables

  • Pluck — Pluck, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Plucked}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Plucking}.] [AS. pluccian; akin to LG. & D. plukken, G. pfl[ u]cken, Icel. plokka, plukka, Dan. plukke, Sw. plocka. ?27.] 1. To pull; to draw. [1913 Webster] Its own nature . . . plucks on… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pluck — pluck·er; pluck·i·ly; pluck·i·ness; pluck·less; pluck; pluck·less·ness; …   English syllables

  • pluck — [pluk] vt. [ME plukken < OE pluccian, akin to Ger pflücken < VL * piluccare, to pull out (> Fr éplucher), for L pilare, to deprive of hair < pilus, hair: see PILE2] 1. to pull off or out; pick 2. to drag or snatch; grab 3. to pull… …   English World dictionary

  • pluck´i|ly — pluck|y «PLUHK ee», adjective, pluck|i|er, pluck|i|est. having or showing courage: »a plucky dog. SYNONYM(S): brave, mettlesome, spirited. –pluck´i|ly …   Useful english dictionary

  • pluck|y — «PLUHK ee», adjective, pluck|i|er, pluck|i|est. having or showing courage: »a plucky dog. SYNONYM(S): brave, mettlesome, spirited. –pluck´i|ly …   Useful english dictionary

  • Pluck — Pluck, n. 1. The act of plucking; a pull; a twitch. [1913 Webster] 2. [Prob. so called as being plucked out after the animal is killed; or cf. Gael. & Ir. pluc a lump, a knot, a bunch.] The heart, liver, and lights of an animal. [1913 Webster] 3 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Pluck — Pluck, v. i. To make a motion of pulling or twitching; usually with at; as, to pluck at one s gown. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • pluck — [n] person’s resolution, courage backbone*, boldness, bravery, dauntlessness, determination, grit, guts*, hardihood, heart*, intestinal fortitude*, intrepidity, mettle, moxie*, nerve, resolution, spirit, spunk; concept 411 Ant. cowardice,… …   New thesaurus

  • pluck — ► VERB 1) take hold of (something) and quickly remove it from its place. 2) pull out (a hair, feather, etc.) 3) pull the feathers from (a bird s carcass) to prepare it for cooking. 4) pull at or twitch. 5) sound (a stringed musical instrument)… …   English terms dictionary

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