- a person who displays or demands of others pointlessly precise conformity, fussiness about trivialities, or exaggerated propriety, especially in a self-righteous or irritating manner.
Origin of prig1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
- Chiefly British. to steal.
- Scot. and North England. to haggle or argue over price.
- British Informal. to beg or entreat; ask a favor.
- Chiefly British. a thief.
Origin of prig2
Examples from the Web for prigs
Pinker is not a self-appointed enforcer of arbitrary rules, and he has little patience for purists, prigs, and pedants.Go Ahead, End With a Preposition: Grammar Rules We All Can Live With
November 3, 2014
The Prigs who despise the people are often loaded with lands and crowned.Alarms and Discursions
G. K. Chesterton
"But we're all prigs," Gilbert said once in reply to some one who sneered at Roger.Changing Winds</p>
St. John G. Ervine
Were we to attempt to do so it would make us prigs and prudes.Practical Ethics
William DeWitt Hyde
The Philistines loved him for his world‑wide popularity; the prigs in spite of it!The Martian
George Du Maurier
Come along, Spooney,' and the pair of prigs retire superciliously.The Book of Snobs
William Makepeace Thackeray
- a person who is smugly self-righteous and narrow-minded
- another word for steal
- another word for thief
Word Origin and History for prigs
"precisian in speech or manners," 1753, originally in reference to theological scruples (1704), of unknown origin; earlier appearances of the same word meaning "dandy, fop" (1670s), "thief" (c.1600; in form prigger recorded from 1560s) could be related, as could thieves' cant prig "a tinker" (1560s).
A p[rig] is wise beyond his years in all the things that do not matter. A p. cracks nuts with a steam hammer: that is, calls in the first principles of morality to decide whether he may, or must, do something of as little importance as drinking a glass of beer. On the whole, one may, perhaps, say that all his different characteristics come from the combination, in varying proportions, of three things--the desire to do his duty, the belief that he knows better than other people, & blindness to the difference in value between different things. ["anonymous essay," quoted in Fowler, 1926]