[pik-it] /ˈpɪk ɪt/

a post, stake, pale, or peg that is used in a fence or barrier, to fasten down a tent, etc.
a person stationed by a union or the like outside a factory, store, mine, etc., in order to dissuade or prevent workers or customers from entering it during a strike.
a person engaged in any similar demonstration, as against a government’s policies or actions, before an embassy, office building, construction project, etc.
Military. a soldier or detachment of soldiers placed on a line forward of a position to warn against an enemy advance.
Navy, Air Force. an aircraft or ship performing similar sentinel duty.
verb (used with object)
to enclose within a picket fence or stockade, as for protection, imprisonment, etc.:
to picket a lawn; to picket captives.
to fasten or tether to a picket.
to place pickets in front of or around (a factory, store, mine, embassy, etc.), as during a strike or demonstration.

verb (used without object)
to stand or march as a picket.
a pointed stake, post, or peg that is driven into the ground to support a fence, provide a marker for surveying, etc
an individual or group that stands outside an establishment to make a protest, to dissuade or prevent employees or clients from entering, etc
Also picquet. a small detachment of troops or warships positioned towards the enemy to give early warning of attack
to post or serve as pickets at (a factory, embassy, etc): let’s go and picket the shop
to guard (a main body or place) by using or acting as a picket
(transitive) to fasten (a horse or other animal) to a picket
(transitive) to fence (an area, boundary, etc) with pickets

1680s, “pointed stake (for defense against cavalry, etc.),” from French piquet “pointed stake,” from piquer “to pierce” (see pike (n.2)). Sense of “troops posted to watch for enemy” first recorded 1761; that of “striking workers stationed to prevent others from entering a factory” is from 1867. Picket line is 1856 in the military sense, 1945 of labor strikes.

1745, “to enclose with pickets,” from picket (n.). The sense in labor strikes, protests, etc., is attested from 1867. Related: Picketed; picketing.


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