verb (used with object), prod·ded, prod·ding.

to poke or jab with or as if with something pointed: I prodded him with my elbow.
to rouse or incite as if by poking; nag; goad.


the act of prodding; a poke or jab.
any of various pointed instruments used as a goad, especially an electrified rod that administers a mild shock: a cattle prod.

Origin of prod

First recorded in 1525–35; origin uncertain
Related formsprod·der, nounun·prod·ded, adjective

Synonyms for prod Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for prodding

Contemporary Examples of prodding

Historical Examples of prodding

  • I was prodding for my food into a camp-kettle when they were howling for their pap.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • By this time Judson had pinned him in a corner, and was prodding him with the half-butt.

  • All they needed was prodding to translate that willingness into law.

  • The peasants walked by the oxen, prodding them with short sticks.

  • I knew he had an out; I was just prodding him into springing it.

    A Spaceship Named McGuire

    Gordon Randall Garrett

British Dictionary definitions for prodding


verb prods, prodding or prodded

to poke or jab with or as if with a pointed object
(tr) to rouse or urge to action


the act or an instance of prodding
a sharp or pointed object
a stimulus or reminder
Derived Formsprodder, noun

Word Origin for prod

C16: of uncertain origin



derogatory, slang another word for Protestant
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 prodding



1530s, "to poke with a stick," of uncertain origin; possibly [Barnhart] a variant of brod, from Middle English brodden "to goad," from Old Norse broddr "shaft, spike" (see brad), or perhaps imitative [OED]. Figurative sense is recorded from 1871. Related: Prodded; prodding.



1787, "pointed instrument used in prodding;" 1802, "act of prodding;" from prod (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper