verb (1)
\ 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


verb (2)
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
2 : leverage

Examples of pry in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun When the Magna earthquake shook the Salt Lake Valley last March, tiles and bricks fell out of the ceiling at West Lake STEM Junior High with such force that the doors at one entryway were blocked and wouldn’t open without a pry bar. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, "State leaders have known for decades that Utah kids could die in unsafe schools during an earthquake. They’ve taken little action.," 28 Mar. 2021 Harvest those carefully using a strong knife or small pry bar. Wes Siler, Outside Online, "How to Choose Your Own Adventure in Baja," 9 Mar. 2021 Then use a pry bar to pull off any interior or exterior trim. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How to Turn Your Shed Into a Home Office," 28 Feb. 2021 On June 2, 2019, Walnut Creek 911 received several calls about Hall threatening family members and walking around the neighborhood with a long metal pry bar, causing a commotion. Christina Maxouris, CNN, "California city announced $4 million settlement over fatal police shooting of mentally ill Black man," 22 Sep. 2020 Median home pries in the area were up 8% last month from January 2019 levels. Steve Brown, Dallas News, "D-FW lags U.S. home price gains in fourth-quarter Realtors report," 12 Feb. 2020 Working with a pry bar, officials got one hand out. Hannah Knowles, Washington Post, "The car fell and crushed her hands while she changed a tire, so she called 911 with her toes," 4 Feb. 2020 There are tweezers, spudgers, and other pry tools for carefully taking apart sensitive components, and a small suction cup for removing glass parts that may be glued down. Jeff Dunn And Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: Nine gift ideas for the tech enthusiast in your life," 13 Dec. 2019 If necessary, slip a pry bar between the last row and baseboard. Joesph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "8 Steps for Installing Laminate Flooring," 8 Dec. 2019

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

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for pry

Cite this Entry

“Pry.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 May. 2021.

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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

Nglish: Translation of pry for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pry for Arabic Speakers

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