See more synonyms for prie on


verb (used without object), pried, pry·ing.
  1. to inquire impertinently or unnecessarily into something: to pry into the personal affairs of others.
  2. to look closely or curiously; peer; peep.
noun, plural pries.
  1. an impertinently inquisitive person.
  2. an act of prying.

Origin of pry

1275–1325; Middle English pryen, prien < ?


verb (used with object), pried, pry·ing.
  1. to move, raise, or open by leverage.
  2. to get, separate, or ferret out with difficulty: to pry a secret out of someone; We finally pried them away from the TV.
noun, plural pries.
  1. a tool, as a crowbar, for raising, moving, or opening something by leverage.
  2. the leverage exerted.

Origin of pry

1800–10; back formation from prize3, taken as a plural noun or 3rd person singular verb


or prie

[pree]Scot. and North England
  1. a test, trial, or taste; a test by sampling.
verb (used with object), preed, pree·ing.
  1. to try, test, or taste.
  1. pree the mouth of, Scot. to kiss.

Origin of pree

1690–1700; shortened form of preive, Middle English preve (noun), preven (v.) < Old French pr(o)eve, preuver; see prove Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for pried

Contemporary Examples of pried

Historical Examples of pried

  • While the mill was at rest he pried into its internal machinery.

    Biographical Stories

    Nathaniel Hawthorne

  • This they pried up, but it required all their strength to lift and stand it on edge.

    Welsh Fairy Tales

    William Elliott Griffis

  • There were such a bewildering lot of them, now that I had pried open my eyes.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • To prove she was wrong he went and pried the cistern cover off to look, and fell in.

    Cy Whittaker's Place

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • This will soften the compound so that the cover can be pried off.

British Dictionary definitions for pried


verb pries, prying or pried
  1. (intr often foll by into) to make an impertinent or uninvited inquiry (about a private matter, topic, etc)
noun plural pries
  1. the act of prying
  2. a person who pries

Word Origin for pry

C14: of unknown origin


verb pries, prying or pried
  1. to force open by levering
  2. US and Canadian to extract or obtain with difficultythey had to pry the news out of him
Equivalent term (in Britain and other countries): prise

Word Origin for pry

C14: of unknown origin
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 pried



"look inquisitively," c.1300, from prien "to peer in," of unknown origin, perhaps related to late Old English bepriwan "to wink." Related: Pried; prying. As a noun, "act of prying," from 1750; meaning "inquisitive person" is from 1845.



"raise by force," 1823, from a noun meaning "instrument for prying, crowbar;" alteration of prize (as though it were a plural) in obsolete sense of "lever" (c.1300), from Old French prise "a taking hold, grasp" (see prize (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper