prize

1 of 5

noun (1)

1
: something offered or striven for in competition or in contests of chance
2
: something exceptionally desirable
3
archaic : a contest for a reward : competition

prize

2 of 5

adjective

1
a
: awarded or worthy of a prize
b
: awarded as a prize
c
: entered for the sake of a prize
a prize drawing
2
: outstanding of a kind
raised prize hogs

prize

3 of 5

verb (1)

prized; prizing

transitive verb

1
: to estimate the value of : rate
2
: to value highly : esteem
a prized possession

prize

4 of 5

noun (2)

1
: something taken by force, stratagem, or threat
especially : property lawfully captured at sea in time of war
2
: an act of capturing or taking
especially : the wartime capture of a ship and its cargo at sea

prize

5 of 5

verb (2)

prized; prizing

transitive verb

: to press, force, or move with a lever : pry
Choose the Right Synonym for prize

Verb (1)

appreciate, value, prize, treasure, cherish mean to hold in high estimation.

appreciate often connotes sufficient understanding to enjoy or admire a thing's excellence.

appreciates fine wine

value implies rating a thing highly for its intrinsic worth.

values our friendship

prize implies taking a deep pride in something one possesses.

Americans prize their freedom

treasure emphasizes jealously safeguarding something considered precious.

a treasured memento

cherish implies a special love and care for something.

cherishes her children above all

Noun (2)

spoil, plunder, booty, prize, loot mean something taken from another by force or craft.

spoil, more commonly spoils, applies to what belongs by right or custom to the victor in war or political contest.

the spoils of political victory

plunder applies to what is taken not only in war but in robbery, banditry, grafting, or swindling.

a bootlegger's plunder

booty implies plunder to be shared among confederates.

thieves dividing up their booty

prize applies to spoils captured on the high seas or territorial waters of the enemy.

the wartime right of seizing prizes at sea

loot applies especially to what is taken from victims of a catastrophe.

picked through the ruins for loot

Example Sentences

Adjective Dad brought back his prize catch, a three-foot striped bass. I felt a prize fool for making such a stupid mistake.

Word History

Etymology

Noun (1)

Middle English pris prize, price — more at price entry 1

Verb (1)

Middle English prisen, from Anglo-French priser, preiser to appraise, esteem, from Late Latin pretiare, from Latin pretium price, value — more at price entry 1

Noun (2)

Middle English prise, from Anglo-French, taking, seizure, from prendre to take, from Latin prehendere — more at get

Verb (2)

prize lever

First Known Use

Noun (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1739, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

1574, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of prize was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near prize

Cite this Entry

“Prize.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prize. Accessed 5 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

prize

1 of 5 noun
1
: something won or to be won in a contest
2
: something unusually valuable or eagerly sought

prize

2 of 5 adjective
1
a
: awarded a prize
a prize essay
b
: awarded as a prize
prize money
2
: outstanding of its kind
a prize fool
a prize student

prize

3 of 5 verb
prized; prizing
1
: to estimate the value of
2
: to value highly : treasure

prize

4 of 5 noun
: something taken (as in war) especially at sea

prize

5 of 5 verb
prized; prizing
: to force or move with or as if with a lever : pry

Legal Definition

prize

noun
1
: property (as a ship) lawfully captured in time of war
2
: the wartime capture of a ship and its cargo at sea

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