Let's say you are getting old and you have a lot of white hairs on your head because of aging.

Now, you ask your child to get rid of them for you.

Do we say "could you pick / pull my white hairs off, they make me itchy?"

pick [transitive] to pull or remove something or small pieces of something from something else, especially with your fingers

pick something + adv./prep. She picked bits of fluff from his sweater.

He picked the nuts off the top of the cake.

Names were picked at random out of a hat.

pick something to pick your nose (= put your finger inside your nose to remove dried mucus)

to pick your teeth (= use a small sharp piece of wood or plastice to remove pieces of food from your teeth)

pick something + adj. The dogs picked the bones clean (= ate all the meat from the bones).

pull [transitive] to remove something from a place by pulling

pull something If these weeds are not pulled, they will spread rapidly .

He pulled a knife and stabbed the man.

pull something + adv./prep. Pull the plug out.

to pull out a gun/knife

She pulled off her boots.

James pulled his shirt over his head, letting it fall to the floor.

They were still pulling bodies from the rubble.

She he was spotted in the water and pulled to safety.

He pulled a gun on me (= took out a gun and aimed it at me).

It seems that people say "pluck grey hairs" and I am not sure if people say "hair turns grey when aging", "white hair" may not be the word. But Asian people's hair turns white not grey when aging.

pluck [transitive] pluck something (out) to pull out hairs with your fingers or with tweezers

She plucked out a grey hair.

expertly plucked eyebrows

  • Grey hair does not mean the individual hairs are grey. They are actually white but are called grey. So Asian hair would be said to turn grey,too.
    – Lambie
    Feb 26, 2020 at 20:23

2 Answers 2


You pluck eyebrows, you pluck gray or grey hairs. With tweezers.

You can also use pull out grey hairs. With tweezers. Pull out from the scalp.

pull out can be a phrasal verb like that.

Grey hair is not really grey; it's white. We just call it that, for any human being.

pick or pull off is not right here.

  • You pick crumbs off a table. [surface]
  • You pull out socks out of a pile. [from inside something].

This can get tricky: try to see if there is a phrasal verb or a verb + a preposition:

  • pick the nuts off the top of the cake. - prepositional phrase
  • to pick off the bad guys. [shoot, phrasal verb]

To select someone is to pick someone.

  • You also "pluck" hairs when you pull them individually without tweezers.
    – fectin
    Jan 23 at 0:55
  • @fectin I have already said that and I repeat, normally pluck implies tweezers when pulling out individual hairs.
    – Lambie
    Jan 23 at 14:34
  • Take another look and see if it's as clear as you want it to be.
    – fectin
    Jan 23 at 23:35

All three words are acceptable in this context, but I think "pluck" is the best choice. The most common use of "pluck" is when one plucks feathers off a bird when preparing to cook it. It also implies the feather puts up some slight resistance before it comes free, just like hair does.


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