I picked up a fever last weekend.

Is the above sentence used the word 'picked up' correctly?

  • 1
    Do you have a definition that suggests you can use "pick up" in this way? Please provide a reference.
    – Em.
    Oct 8, 2016 at 4:28
  • 2
    Google defines 'pick up' in so many ways including the following one: "catch an illness or infection. "I've picked up some kind of flu bug". So I think it is appropriate for illness., But not sure if it fits well with the word fever. It might.
    – Vanpram P
    Oct 8, 2016 at 5:24
  • 2
    The question has great potential, but it needs to be fleshed out. Could you not say where you read or heard this expression, and explain "why" you think it may be "incorrect"?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Oct 8, 2016 at 10:41

2 Answers 2


For diseases and sicknesses, one should normally use catch and caught , I personally hadn't seen "pick up" before diseases till in this case.


Pick up can mean "to acquire incidentally or passively", e.g. "I dragged the net through the water and picked up seaweed." As no one really intends to get a disease, this isn't really a wrong use of pick up.

However, diseases are generally caught, not picked up.

Looks like Johnny caught a fever, he'll be staying home from school.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .