"small flute sounding an octave higher than the ordinary flute," 1830, from piccolo flute (1809), from French piccolo, from Italian flauto piccolo "small flute," from piccolo "small," perhaps a children's made-up word, or from picca "point," or from Vulgar Latin root *pikk- "little," related to *piccare "to pierce" (see pike (n.1)). Other sources suggest it is from the same source as French petit (see petit (adj.)).
The Octave Flute is frequently miscalled a Piccolo, whereas it is merely an octave higher in pitch than the concert flute, and is very effective in brilliant full pieces. ["On Flutes and Piccolos," in The Harmonicon, 1830]
1748 (in Chesterfield's "Letters"), but the thing itself apparently was rare before c. 1800 as an English institution [OED]; it originally meant "a fashionable social affair (not necessarily out of doors) in which every partaker contributed something to the general table;" from French piquenique (1690s), perhaps a reduplication of piquer "to pick, peck," from Old French (see pike (n.1)), or the second element may be nique "worthless thing," from a Germanic source.
As in many other riming names, the elements are used without precision, but the lit. sense is appar. 'a picking or nibbling of bits,' a snatch, snack .... [Century Dictionary]
The word also turns up 18c. in German, Danish, Swedish. Later "pleasure party the members of which carry provisions with them on an excursion, as to some place in the country." Figurative sense of "something easy" is from 1886. Picnic basket is by 1857. Picnic table is by 1858, originally a folding table used for outdoor dining.
early 13c., picken "to peck;" c. 1300, piken "to work with a pick, to dig up," probably representing a fusion of Old English *pician "to prick," (implied by picung "a piercing, pricking," an 8c. gloss on Latin stigmata) with Old Norse pikka "to prick, peck," both from a Germanic root (source also of Middle Dutch picken, German picken "to pick, peck"), perhaps imitative. Influence from Middle French piquer "to prick, sting" (see pike (n.1)) also is possible, but that French word generally is not considered a source of the English word. Related: Picked; picking.
Meaning "to pluck with the hand or fingers, gather, break off, collect" (fruit, etc.) is from early 14c.; that of "to prick or pierce with a pointed instrument" also is from early 14c. The meaning "to choose, sort through carefully in search of valuable material" emerged late 14c., from the earlier meaning "to pluck with the fingers." The sense of "to rob, plunder" (c. 1300) weakened to a milder sense of "steal petty things, filch or pilfer from" by late 14c. Meaning "to eat with small bites" is from 1580s.
Of locks, etc., "probe or penetrate with a pointed tool," early 15c. The meaning "to pluck (a banjo, etc.) with the fingers" is recorded from 1860. To pick a quarrel, fight, etc. is from mid-15c.; to pick at "annoy with repeated fault-finding" is from 1670s. To pick on "single out for adverse attention" is from late 14c. Also see pick up.
To pick off "shoot one by one" is recorded from 1810; baseball sense, of a pitcher or catcher, "to put out a runner caught off base" is by 1939. To pick and choose "select carefully" is from 1660s (choose and pick is attested from c. 1400). To pick (one's) nose is by mid-15c.
"large North American pike," 1789, from Algonquian (Ojibwa) maashkinoozhe; the second element is kinoozhe "pike;" the first is either mac "great," maazh- "similar to," or maazh- "ugly." Altered by French folk etymology as masque allongé "long mask." Called muskie for short (1889).
type of fish (pike-perch), 1876, American English, said to be so-called from the positioning of the eyes (see wall-eyed).
"Irish freebooter," 1690, originally "pikeman," a kind of soldier prominent in the war of 1688-92, from Irish rapairidhe, plural of rapaire "half-pike."
Old English spreot "pole, pike, spear," originally "a sprout, shoot, branch," from Proto-Germanic *sprut- (see sprout (v.)). Cognate with Middle Dutch spriet, Middle Low German spryet, German Spriet, North Frisian sprit. Restricted nautical sense of "diagonal spar from a mast" is from 14c. Related: Spritsail.
type of sea fish, late 13c., probably from Old English haca "a hook, door-fastening" (related to hacod "pike" the fish), or from cognate Old Norse haki "hook;" in either case the fish so called from the shape of its jaw; both from Proto-Germanic *hakan (cognate with Dutch hake "hook"), from PIE root *keg- "hook, tooth."
"rocky hill," c. 1300, from Old Norse fiall "mountain," from Proto-Germanic *felzam- "rock" (source also of Old High German felisa, German Fels "stone, rock"), from PIE root *pel(i)s- "rock, cliff." Old High German felisa "a rock" is the source of French falaise (formerly falize) "cliff." Now mostly in place-names, such as Scafell Pike, highest mountain in England.