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prig1

[prig]
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noun
  1. 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.
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Origin of prig1

First recorded in 1560–70; formerly, coxcomb; perhaps akin to prink
Related formsprig·gish, adjectiveprig·gish·ly, adverbprig·gish·ness, nounun·prig·gish, adjective

Synonyms

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prude, puritan, bluenose.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for priggish

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Perhaps it is priggish of me, but I feel that if I'm mean in one thing I may be mean in another.

    Changing Winds

    St. John G. Ervine

  • He was deep in a business discussion with his priggish son-in-law.

    The Making of Bobby Burnit

    George Randolph Chester

  • He was selfish and priggish and worse, he was piggish—A regular beast of a brute.

  • She watched Paul growing irritable, priggish, and melancholic.

    Sons and Lovers

    David Herbert Lawrence

  • Why, how absurd and priggish and offensive such a course of action would be?

    The Dictator

    Justin McCarthy


British Dictionary definitions for priggish

prig1

noun
  1. a person who is smugly self-righteous and narrow-minded
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Derived Formspriggery or priggishness, nounpriggish, adjectivepriggishly, adverbpriggism, noun

Word Origin

C18: of unknown origin

prig2

verb prigs, prigging or prigged
  1. another word for steal
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noun
  1. another word for thief
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Word Origin

C16: 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 priggish

prig

n.

"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]

Related: Priggery.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper