- to inquire impertinently or unnecessarily into something: to pry into the personal affairs of others.
- to look closely or curiously; peer; peep.
- an impertinently inquisitive person.
- an act of prying.
Origin of pry1
- to move, raise, or open by leverage.
- to get, separate, or ferret out with difficulty: to pry a secret out of someone; We finally pried them away from the TV.
- a tool, as a crowbar, for raising, moving, or opening something by leverage.
- the leverage exerted.
Origin of pry2
Examples from the Web for pry
Knapp hopes she can pry open some of those doors for people.Is the Christian Music Industry Softening on Gays?
Matthew Paul Turner
October 19, 2014
Others want to pry it out and have two votes, one on government funding and one on the Syria dough.Will the House GOP Stop the War on ISIS?
September 12, 2014
Among them were the persistent efforts of a single congressman to pry out of the Pentagon the true costs of running Guantanamo.Congress Cooperates, Obama Pushes Hard, and Closing Gitmo Has a Chance
December 12, 2013
Andrew lifts the roof of the first house and his dad uses a small metal hook to pry the first wall of honeycombs out of the hive.Honey Harvest at the Waldorf Astoria’s Beehives
August 3, 2013
These other benign interests are being used to pry open the door for all of these other uses.Sen. Jerry Moran Advocates Drones for Agriculture
July 2, 2013
"Just held him up to pry into his private affairs," she put it bluntly to herself.Good Indian
B. M. Bower
(Aloud) I don't mean, my good girl, to pry into your family affairs.Tales And Novels, Volume 8 (of 10)
Young people are entitled to their own privacy; I don't want to pry.Alice Adams
As to Mrs. Betts's former history, no one had the smallest right to pry into it.The Coryston Family
Mrs. Humphry Ward
It was one thing to pry into a man's secret; another, to help him escape from it!Salted With Fire
- (intr often foll by into) to make an impertinent or uninvited inquiry (about a private matter, topic, etc)
- the act of prying
- a person who pries
- to force open by levering
- US and Canadian to extract or obtain with difficultythey had to pry the news out of him
Word Origin and History for pry
"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)).