1 of 4


prodded; prodding

transitive verb

: to thrust a pointed instrument into : prick
: to incite to action : stir
: to poke or stir as if with a prod

intransitive verb

: to urge someone on
prodder noun


2 of 4

noun (1)

: a pointed instrument used to prod
: an incitement to act
needed a few prods to remember her lines


3 of 4



4 of 4

noun (2)

chiefly Ireland, often disparaging + offensive

Example Sentences

Verb She prodded him in the ribs to get his attention. She was prodded into joining the team. Noun (1) She gave him a sharp prod in the back. He picked up a stick and used it as a prod to get the donkey moving. He needed a few prods to remember his lines. She called me and gave me a prod about finishing the report. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
But occasionally, geopolitical rivalry can prod great powers to do some good. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 14 Mar. 2023 The Globe reported last month that DHCD is cutting the budgets of housing authorities in noncompliant towns, which some advocates say, while harsh, may help prod them into following along. Andrew Brinker,, 26 Jan. 2023 Zelensky will address the G-7 and NATO summits virtually, in an effort to prod Western nations to maintain the enthusiastic backing his country attracted in the war’s early stages. Ashley Parker, Washington Post, 24 June 2022 In an effort to prod shoppers and avoid a last-minute holiday crunch, big retailers like Target, Amazon and Best Buy are offering Black Friday-like deals earlier than ever this year. Lauren Debter, Forbes, 21 Oct. 2021 Around the start of 2023, Perry reminded herself to prod Presley once more. David Browne, Rolling Stone, 10 Mar. 2023 Zimmerman said his campaign tried to prod reporters at local and national news outlets with leads about Santos but had little luck. Nicholas Fandos,, 14 Jan. 2023 At one point, someone on InSight’s science team wondered if the lander’s somewhat stumpy arm could prod the solar panels, or perhaps scrape off some dust. Robin George Andrews, Smithsonian Magazine, 21 Mar. 2022 Abbott began sending bus loads of migrants to the nation’s capital in April to prod Biden to pay more attention to the spike. Dallas News, 5 Jan. 2023
Glover and Nabers poke and prod at similarly layered questions through Swarm — including the many potential meanings the title itself can take on. Nacey Watson Johnson, Billboard, 6 Mar. 2023 The cacophony of things people say after pregnancy loss can pierce and prod, creating new levels of hardship and lodging previously unimagined thoughts in your mind. Jessica Zucker, Condé Nast Traveler, 9 Sep. 2020 On paper, the M5 Competition trails the CT5-V Blackwing by 51 horsepower, but one prod of the throttle reveals that its rated power is probably conservative. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, 20 Oct. 2021 The entire package boosts the driver's confidence with every turn of the wheel and prod of the pedals. Caleb Miller, Car and Driver, 17 Jan. 2023 Even a light prod of the accelerator fires up the 178-hp turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine. Greg Fink, Car and Driver, 18 Jan. 2023 An automatic prod might help recruiters be more aware of the inherent biases that can influence the search for talent. Paolo Confino, Fortune, 11 Aug. 2022 Shara felt something behind her—more substantial than a breeze, less forceful than a prod. Han Ong, The New Yorker, 18 July 2022 By contrast, a charming early 15th-century ink painting by Sekkyakushi suggests a gentler approach: A boy astride a water buffalo appears to be steering a beast that is as wayward as the mind—not by yanking on the reins, but with a gentle prod. Lee Lawrence, WSJ, 11 May 2022 See More

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

Word History



origin unknown

Noun (2)

by shortening & alteration

First Known Use


1535, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun (1)

1676, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun (2)

1837, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of prod was in 1535

Dictionary Entries Near prod

Cite this Entry

“Prod.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 verb
prodded; prodding
: to poke with something
: to stir a person or animal to action
kept prodding me to reveal the secret
prodder noun


2 of 2 noun
: something used for prodding
: an act of prodding : a sharp urging or reminder

More from Merriam-Webster on prod

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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