verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

Nearby words

  1. priceless,
  2. pricer,
  3. prices and incomes policy,
  4. pricey,
  5. prichard,
  6. prick song,
  7. prick up one's ears,
  8. prick-eared,
  9. prick-post,
  10. pricker


    kick against the pricks, to resist incontestable facts or authority; protest uselessly: In appealing the case again, you will just be kicking against the pricks.
    prick up one's ears, to become very alert; listen attentively: The reporter pricked up his ears at the prospect of a scoop.

Origin of prick

before 1000; (noun) Middle English prike; Old English prica, price dot, point; (v.) Middle English priken, Old English prician; cognate with Dutch, Low German prik point

Related formsprick·er, nounprick·ing·ly, adverbun·pricked, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for prick

British Dictionary definitions for prick


verb (mainly tr)

  1. to make (a small hole) in (something) by piercing lightly with a sharp point
  2. to wound in this manner
(intr) to cause or have a piercing or stinging sensation
to cause to feel a sharp emotional painknowledge of such poverty pricked his conscience
to puncture or pierce
to mark, delineate, or outline by dots or punctures
(also intr usually foll by up) to rise or raise erect; pointthe dog pricked his ears up at his master's call
(usually foll by out or off) to transplant (seedlings) into a larger container
(often foll by off) nautical to measure or trace (a course, distance, etc) on a chart with dividers
archaic to rouse or impel; urge on
(intr) archaic to ride fast on horseback; spur a horse on
prick up one's ears to start to listen attentively; become interested


the act of pricking or the condition or sensation of being pricked
a mark made by a sharp point; puncture
a sharp emotional pain resembling the physical pain caused by being prickeda prick of conscience
a taboo slang word for penis
slang, derogatory an obnoxious or despicable man
an instrument or weapon with a sharp point, such as a thorn, goad, bee sting, etc
the footprint or track of an animal, esp a hare
obsolete a small mark caused by pricking a surface; dot; point
kick against the pricks to hurt oneself by struggling against something in vain

Word Origin for prick

Old English prica point, puncture; related to Dutch prik, Icelandic prik short stick, Swedish prick point, stick

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 prick
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper