Pick Up the Pace: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
July 8, 2024

"Pick up the pace" means increasing the speed or rate at which something is being done. This phrase can be applied in various contexts, including physical activities such as running or walking, and metaphorically to describe the acceleration of work, productivity, or any process. For instance, a team leader might encourage members to "pick up the pace" to meet a deadline during a group project, implying that efforts should be intensified or quickened.

In short:

  • It means to speed up or increase the rate of activity.
  • It is applicable in both physical and metaphorical contexts.

What Does "Pick Up the Pace" Mean?

"Pick up the pace" is a phrase used to suggest that someone or something should move faster or become more efficient. It's often used as a motivational call to action, encouraging individuals or groups to expedite their current pace or efforts. This can be relevant in situations ranging from individual tasks, like reading or completing assignments, to collaborative efforts in professional or athletic environments. The phrase embodies the idea of increasing momentum or progress toward a goal.

More about the phrase's meaning:

  • It signifies a call to action for accelerating progress or activity.
  • It's used to motivate oneself or others to work more quickly or efficiently.
  • The phrase is versatile and applicable in various scenarios, including sports, work, and daily tasks.
  • It also implies an urgency or need to improve speed to meet deadlines or objectives.
  • Similar expressions include "speed up," "hurry up," and "make haste."

Where Does "Pick Up the Pace" Come From?

The term "pick up" has several meanings, including "to lift" or "to gather," dating back to the 14th century. By the late 19th century, it also began to be used in contexts implying an increase in speed or efficiency. The word "pace" comes from the Latin "passus," meaning "a step." In English, it has been used since the 14th century to denote speed or rate of progress. The phrase "pick up the pace," specifically, in the sense of quickening one's stride or speeding up a process, dates back to the late 19th or early 20th century. It likely emerged from contexts such as athletics, military drills, or other activities where increasing speed was a common requirement.

10 Examples of "Pick Up the Pace" in Sentences

To further understand how to use this phrase, here are some examples:

  • They were called to pick up the pace to win the race.
  • The project manager asked the team to pick up the pace to meet the project deadline.
  • After a slow start, the author picked up the pace, writing several chapters a week.
  • The sign on the door says it all: pick up the pace or get out of the way.
  • During the workshop, the instructor encouraged participants to pick up the pace of their brainstorming.
  • The new software helped the company pick up the pace of its customer service response.
  • As per the instructions, they had to pick up the pace and complete the task in an hour.
  • As the deadline approached, she picked up the pace of her research to complete her thesis on time.
  • To keep up with demand, the factory picked up the pace of production.
  • She didn’t want to make a scene, but she had to pick up the pace to catch the bus.

Examples of "Pick Up the Pace" in Pop Culture

This phrase finds its way into pop culture, particularly in contexts where characters or narratives emphasize urgency or the need for speed.

Pop Culture Examples:

  • "5 Tips to Pick up the Pace" by Career Authors explores how authors can improve the pacing of their fiction writing. The piece emphasizes the importance of not overexplaining and maintaining momentum through various narrative techniques.
  • Chris Paul mentioned during the Western Conference Finals, "I've got to pick up the pace. We'll be ready Game 4." This quote highlights his commitment to improving his performance and speed during the basketball playoffs.
  • The song "Pick Up The Pace" by Young MC is characterized by its energetic beat and motivational lyrics, encouraging listeners to increase their effort and speed.
  • In the health-focused article "Pick up the pace: Exercise intensity matters more for your health than steps" from UC Davis Health, the piece details why higher intensity exercise is more beneficial than merely counting steps. It provides insights into the physiological benefits of vigorous activities.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Pick Up the Pace"

Alternative ways to express the same idea include:

  • Speed up
  • Hurry up
  • Make haste
  • Accelerate
  • Step it up
  • Ramp up
  • Quick, quick
  • Get a move on
  • Fast-track
  • Boost the speed

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Pick Up the Pace":

  • What does "pick up the pace" mean?

"Pick up the pace" means to increase the speed or rate of progress in an activity or process. It's a call to action to expedite efforts.

  • Can "pick up the pace" be used in professional settings?

Yes, it's commonly used in professional settings to encourage teams or individuals to work faster or more efficiently to meet deadlines or goals.

  • Is "pick up the pace" applicable only to physical activities?

No, it can also be used metaphorically in non-physical contexts, such as increasing the speed of work, learning, or any process.

  • How can I use "pick up the pace" in a sentence?

You can use it when encouraging someone to go faster or when noting the need to increase efficiency. For example, "We need to pick up the pace if we're going to finish on time."

  • Is it polite to tell someone to "pick up the pace"?

It depends on the context and tone. When said encouragingly, it's generally polite. However, it could be seen as impolite if expressed in a demanding or critical manner.

  • Can it be used in a self-motivational context?

Yes, people often use it to motivate themselves to work faster or more diligently towards their personal goals.

  • Does "pick up the pace" imply someone is going too slow?

It can imply that there's room to increase speed or efficiency, but it's not always a criticism. It may simply acknowledge a need for greater urgency.

  • Are there any popular songs that use the phrase "pick up the pace"?

While specific song titles may not always mention the phrase directly, many songs discuss themes of hastening or increasing effort, which align with the idea of picking up the pace.

  • How does "pick up the pace" differ from "hurry up"?

"Pick up the pace" is often used in a slightly more formal or constructive context, suggesting a steady increase in speed, whereas "hurry up" is a more immediate and urgent command.

  • Can "pick up the pace" be used in educational settings?

Yes, teachers may use it to encourage students to work more quickly or efficiently on assignments or during lessons.

Final Thoughts About "Pick Up the Pace"

The phrase "pick up the pace" is a dynamic expression encouraging acceleration in activity or efficiency. Its versatility makes it applicable in a wide range of scenarios, from personal ambition to collective endeavors.

To recap:

  • It is an effective phrase for motivating increased speed or efficiency.
  • Appropriate in multiple contexts, including personal, professional, and educational settings.
  • The phrase can encourage physical quickening and faster progress in non-physical tasks.
  • Understanding the tone and context is crucial to using it appropriately.

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