\ ˈprī How to pronounce pry (audio) \
pried; prying

Definition of pry

 (Entry 1 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to look closely or inquisitively also : to make a nosy or presumptuous inquiry
pried; prying

Definition of pry (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to raise, move, or pull apart with a lever : prize
2 : to extract, detach, or open with difficulty pried the secret out of my sister



Definition of pry (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a tool for prying

Examples of pry in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The door had pry marks, and the roof and equipment also were damaged, according to the report. Jennifer James Correspondent, Houston Chronicle, "Friendswood man accused of stealing school bus," 6 Sep. 2019 Pry marks were on some of those vehicles, consistent with the size of the pry bar recovered, the complaint said. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A 20-year-old broke into Wauwatosa area vehicles and stole belongings, from socks to Beats, complaint says," 19 July 2019 Tante Malkeh pries open the girl’s mouth, and, her old eyes lighted up in their sunken depths. Abigail Deutsch, Harper's magazine, "Bette on the Blues," 22 July 2019 Officers arrived and found what appeared to be a pry mark on the back door of the residence. oregonlive.com, "Woman attempts late-night fishing over open manhole with make-shift pole: Forest Grove police log," 17 July 2019 Add Beal, a 26-year-old shooting guard in his prime, and Denver pries open its championship window for the next five years. Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post, "How many Colorado football teams will be bowl eligible in 2019? Oddsmaker says 1. Maybe.," 10 July 2019 As the truck entered a nearby Interstate 94 on-ramp, the second safe fell out, along with a pry bar and sledgehammer. Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, "Opioid bandits smash through Walgreens, lose loot and their freedom," 9 July 2019 Firefighters using pry bars are finally able to shift the massive section of the chimney off of Christian’s car. Nathaniel Penn, Popular Mechanics, "The Day the Town Blew Up," 3 June 2019 Carefully pry up the shoe molding using a thin pry bar. Joesph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "8 Tips for Installing Laminate Flooring," 26 Jan. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pry.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of pry

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

circa 1806, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pry

Verb (1)

Middle English prien

Verb (2)

probably back-formation from prize entry 5

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Time Traveler for pry

The first known use of pry was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pry


\ ˈprī How to pronounce pry (audio) \
pried; prying

Kids Definition of pry

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to raise or open with a lever
2 : to get at with great difficulty I couldn't pry the secret out of him.


pried; prying

Kids Definition of pry (Entry 2 of 2)

: to be nosy about something I don't mean to pry, but who is that girl I saw you with?

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More from Merriam-Webster on pry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pry

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pry

Spanish Central: Translation of pry

Nglish: Translation of pry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pry for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pry

What made you want to look up pry? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to spread as a report or rumor

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