Etymology
Advertisement
pluck (v.)

Middle English plukken, "pull (something) off or out from a surface" (especially hair or feathers, but also teeth), from late Old English ploccian, pluccian "pull off, cull," from West Germanic *plokken (source also of Middle Low German plucken, Middle Dutch plocken, Dutch plukken, Flemish plokken, German pflücken). This is perhaps from an unrecorded Gallo-Roman or Vulgar Latin *piluccare (source of Old French peluchier, late 12c.; Italian piluccare), a frequentative, ultimately from Latin pilare "pull out hair," from pilus "hair" (see pile (n.3)). But despite the similarities, OED finds difficulties with this and cites gaps in historical evidence. From late 14c. as "to pull sharply with a sudden jerk or force (of the strings of a bow, harp, etc.). Related: Plucked; plucking.

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. To pluck up "summon up" (courage, heart, etc.) is from c. 1300.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
pluck (n.)

c. 1400, plukke, "a pull, a tug, act of plucking," from pluck (v.). Meaning "courage, boldness, determined energy" (1785), originally in pugilism slang, is a figurative use from the earlier meaning "heart, viscera" (1610s) as that which is "plucked" from slaughtered livestock in preparing the carcass for market. This sense also was perhaps influenced by figurative use of the verb in pluck up (one's courage, etc.), attested from c. 1300.

Related entries & more 
plucky (adj.)

1831, colloquial, "spirited, courageous," from pluck (n.) in the "courage" sense + -y (2). Related: Pluckily; pluckiness.

Related entries & more 
plush (n.)

"soft fabric, cloth having a softer and longer nap than that of velvet," 1590s, from French pluche "shag, plush," contraction of peluche "hairy fabric," from Old French peluchier "to pull, to tug, to pluck" (the final process in weaving plush), from Vulgar Latin *piluccare "remove hair" (see pluck (v.)). Related: Plushy; plushness.

Related entries & more 
tweak (v.)

"pinch, pluck, twist," usually to the nose, c. 1600, probably from Middle English twikken "to draw, tug, pluck" (mid-15c.), from Old English twiccian "to pluck," of obscure origin; perhaps related to twitch. Meaning "to make fine adjustments" is attested from 1966. Related: Tweaked; tweaking.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
excerpt (v.)

"to take or cull out" a passage in a written or printed work, "select, cite, extract," early 15c. (implied in excerpte), from Latin excerptus, past participle of excerpere "pluck out, pick out, extract," figuratively "choose, select, gather," also "to leave out, omit," from ex "out" (see ex-) + carpere "pluck, gather," from PIE root *kerp- "to gather, pluck, harvest." Related: Excerpted; excerpting.

Related entries & more 
tweak (n.)

c. 1600, "a twitch, a pluck," from tweak (v.). As "a fine adjustment" by 1989.

Related entries & more 
nap (n.1)

"downy or woolly surface of cloth," mid-15c., noppe, from Middle Dutch or Middle Low German noppe "nap, tuft of wool," probably introduced by Flemish cloth-workers. Cognate with Old English hnoppian "to pluck," ahneopan "pluck off," Old Swedish niupa "to pinch," Gothic dis-hniupan "to tear."

Related entries & more 
tweeze (v.)

"to pluck with tweezers," 1921, back-formation from tweezers. Related: Tweezed; tweezing. Earlier verb was tweezer (1806).

Related entries & more 
carp (v.)

early 13c., "to talk, speak, tell," from Old Norse karpa "to brag," which is of unknown origin. The meaning turned toward "find fault with, complain," particularly without reason or petulantly (late 14c.) probably by influence of Latin carpere "to slander, revile," literally "to pluck" (which is from PIE root *kerp- "to gather, pluck, harvest"). Related: Carped; carping.

Related entries & more