Sense: 1,3
Date: 1300-1400
Origin: Origin unknown
Sense: 2,4
Date: 1800-1900
Origin: prize 'to force up' (17-21 centuries), from prize 'lever' (14-20 centuries), from Old French prise 'act of seizing'


pry past tense and past participle pried, present participle prying, third person singular pries
1 [intransitive] to try to find out details about someone else's private life in an impolite way:
I don't want to pry, but I need to ask you one or two questions.
pry into
reporters prying into the affairs of celebrities
2 [transitive always + adverb/preposition] especially American English to force something open, or force it away from something else [= prize British English]
pry something open/away/off etc
We finally managed to pry the door open with a screwdriver.

away from prying eyes

in private, where people cannot see what you are doing

pry something out of somebody/something

phrasal verb
to get money or information from someone with a lot of difficulty:
If you want to know his name, you have to pry it out of her.

Dictionary results for "pry"
Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.