Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Topic: LABOUR RELATIONS, UNIONS

Date: 1600-1700
Language: French
Origin: piquet, from piquer 'to prick'

picket

1 noun
     
pick‧et1 [countable]
1BEL
a) when a group of people stand or march in front of a shop, factory, government building etc to protest about something or to stop people from going in during a strike:
There was a mass picket (=one involving a lot of people) by students outside the main office of the university.
picket of
They organized a picket of the power station.
b) BEL a person or the group of people involved in a picket:
The pickets persuaded some drivers not to enter the factory.
flying picket
2PMA a soldier or a group of soldiers with the special duty of guarding a military camp:
He's on picket duty tonight.
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