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verb (used with object), prised, pris·ing, noun
  1. prize3.
Can be confusedprise prize


or prise

verb (used with object), prized, priz·ing.
  1. pry2.
  1. leverage.
  2. a lever.

Origin of prize3

1350–1400; Middle English prise < Middle French: a hold, grasp < Latin pre(hē)nsa. See prize1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for prising

Historical Examples

  • This way and that, and every way at once, he was writhing and pushing and prising and dragging.

    A Rough Shaking

    George MacDonald

  • Mr. Snow was prising with a rotten rail, and it broke, and he went down in the wet.

  • Working in turns, they succeeded at the end of three hours' work in prising the slab from its bed.

  • Prising open a box of cigars, he sniffed it with the suspicion of inexperience and proffered it diffidently to Oakleigh.

    Lady Lilith

    Stephen McKenna

  • The object was to lift the door off the hinges, partly by prising it up with a lever.

British Dictionary definitions for prising


    1. a reward or honour for victory or for having won a contest, competition, etc
    2. (as modifier)prize jockey; prize essay
  1. something given to the winner of any game of chance, lottery, etc
  2. something striven for
  3. any valuable property captured in time of war, esp a vessel

Word Origin

C14: from Old French prise a capture, from Latin prehendere to seize; influenced also by Middle English prise reward; see price


  1. (tr) to esteem greatly; value highly

Word Origin

C15 prise, from Old French preisier to praise


verb, noun
  1. a variant spelling of prise



verb (tr)
  1. to force open by levering
  2. to extract or obtain with difficultythey had to prise the news out of him
  1. rare, or dialect a tool involving leverage in its use or the leverage so employed
US and Canadian equivalent: pry

Word Origin

C17: from Old French prise a taking, from prendre to take, from Latin prehendere; see prize 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for prising



"reward," prise (c.1300 in this sense), from Old French pris "price, value, worth; reward" (see price (n.)). As an adjective, "worthy of a prize," from 1803. The spelling with -z- is from late 16c. Prize-fighter is from 1703; prize-fight from 1730 (prize-fighter from 1785).



"something taken by force," mid-13c., prise "a taking, holding," from Old French prise "a taking, seizing, holding," noun use of fem. past participle of prendre "to take, seize," from Latin prendere, contraction of prehendere "lay hold of, grasp, seize, catch" (see prehensile). Especially of ships captured at sea (1510s). The spelling with -z- is from late 16c.



"to estimate," 1580s, alteration of Middle English prisen "to prize, value" (late 14c.), from stem of Old French preisier "to praise" (see praise (v.)). Related: Prized; prizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper