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I have a question about "pick up" here:

My voice startled me with its sudden loudness. I must have picked up the whispering unconsciously from my visitor.

Does "picked up the whispering" mean something closer to "pick up information" or "pick up a chant"?

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"Picked up" in this instance means "acquired".

The character is suggesting that they, unconsciously, started whispering in response to their visitor's behaviour.

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  • So, the example is closer to "pick up the chant". – meatie Oct 15 '14 at 21:07
  • I don't know that phrase. I think a more common example would be to use "pick up" some disease. "I picked up a cold by staying out too long". There's a certain element of the acquisition being unintentional. – Dancrumb Oct 15 '14 at 22:07
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In this case "picked up" means something like "noticed"

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  • 2
    Not true, in this case. Given the limited context, it may have been hard to discern, but if you open OP's link you'll see that Dancrumb's analysis is correct. – nmar Oct 15 '14 at 20:12
  • I agree with @nmar , your definition fails to highlight the accidental emphasis on the acquisition of the whispers in the first place. – Tushar Oct 16 '14 at 9:51

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