\ ˈprik How to pronounce prick (audio) \

Definition of prick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a mark or shallow hole made by a pointed instrument
2a : a pointed instrument or weapon
b : a sharp projecting organ or part
3 : an instance of pricking or the sensation of being pricked: such as
a : a nagging or sharp feeling of remorse, regret, or sorrow
b : a slight sharply localized discomfort the prick of a needle
4 vulgar : penis
5 slang, vulgar : a spiteful or contemptible man often having some authority


pricked; pricking; pricks

Definition of prick (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to pierce slightly with a sharp point
2 : to affect with anguish, grief, or remorse doubt began to prick him— Philip Hale
3 : to ride, guide, or urge on with or as if with spurs : goad
4 : to mark, distinguish, or note by means of a small mark
5 : to trace or outline with punctures
6 : to remove (a young seedling) from the seedbed to another suitable for further growth usually used with out
7 : to cause to be or stand erect a dog pricking its ears

intransitive verb

1a : to prick something or cause a pricking sensation
b : to feel discomfort as if from being pricked
2a : to urge a horse with the spur
b : to ride fast
3 : thrust
4 : to become directed upward : point
prick up one's ears
: to listen intently

Examples of prick in a Sentence

Noun She felt a prick as the thorn jabbed her foot. He felt the prick of the needle. She felt a prick of jealousy. Verb The nurse pricked my finger and squeezed out a drop of blood. The sharp shells pricked the bottoms of our feet. She was pricked by doubt. See More

First Known Use of prick


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for prick


Middle English prikke, from Old English prica; akin to Middle Dutch pric prick

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Time Traveler for prick

Time Traveler

The first known use of prick was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near prick



prick ear

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Cite this Entry

“Prick.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for prick


\ ˈprik How to pronounce prick (audio) \

Kids Definition of prick

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : an act of piercing with a small sharp point
2 : a feeling of pain that accompanies a piercing of the skin with a sharp point
3 : a sudden strong feeling a prick of conscience


pricked; pricking

Kids Definition of prick (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to point upward The horse pricked up its ears.
2 : to pierce slightly with a sharp point
3 : to have or to cause a feeling of or as if of being pierced with a sharp point


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