[pik-nik] /ˈpɪk nɪk/

an excursion or outing in which the participants carry food with them and share a meal in the open air.
the food eaten on such an excursion.
Also called picnic ham, picnic shoulder. a section of pork shoulder, usually boned, smoked, and weighing 4–6 pounds.
Compare (def 2).
Informal. an enjoyable experience or time, easy task, etc.:
Being laid up in a hospital is no picnic.
verb (used without object), picnicked, picnicking.
to go on or take part in a picnic.
a trip or excursion to the country, seaside, etc, on which people bring food to be eaten in the open air

(informal, mainly Austral) a troublesome situation or experience
(informal) no picnic, a hard or disagreeable task
verb -nics, -nicking, -nicked
(intransitive) to eat a picnic

1748 (in Chesterfield’s “Letters”), but rare before c.1800 as an English institution; originally a fashionable pot-luck social affair, not necessarily out of doors; from French piquenique (1690s), perhaps a reduplication of piquer “to pick, peck,” from Old French (see pike (n.2)), or the second element may be nique “worthless thing,” from a Germanic source. Figurative sense of “something easy” is from 1886. Picnic table recorded from 1926, originally a folding table.

“go on a picnic,” 1842, from picnic (n.). Related: Picnicked; picnicking. The -k- is inserted to preserve the “k” sound of -c- before a suffix beginning in -i-, -y-, or -e- (cf. traffic/trafficking, panic/panicky, shellac/shellacked).


Related Terms

no picnic
see: no picnic


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