pry·​ing | \ ˈprī-iŋ How to pronounce prying (audio) \

Definition of prying

: inquisitive in an annoying, officious, or meddlesome way

Other Words from prying

pryingly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for prying



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for prying

curious, inquisitive, prying mean interested in what is not one's personal or proper concern. curious, a neutral term, basically connotes an active desire to learn or to know. children are curious about everything inquisitive suggests impertinent and habitual curiosity and persistent quizzing. dreaded the visits of their inquisitive relatives prying implies busy meddling and officiousness. prying neighbors who refuse to mind their own business

Examples of prying in a Sentence

She tried to escape the prying eyes of her neighbors. as we moved into our new home, we could sense that there were prying eyes watching us
Recent Examples on the Web To my mind, however, there’s a difference between a Google or a Facebook, which provide valuable services in return for their prying eyes, and an app that serves a single, ostensibly benign purpose — parking validation. Los Angeles Times, 12 Nov. 2021 Carry two phones While anti-spy software may be effective in staving off the prying eyes of the Chinese government, not everyone knows how to install it. Jane Li, Quartz, 6 Aug. 2019 Its purpose: to train librarians to implement secure protocols on their own web services, and to teach members of the community to evade the prying eyes of governments, corporations, and criminal hackers. Eoin O'carroll, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Oct. 2017 One reason Russians have loaded up on passports is that Cypriot citizenship helps them avoid the prying eyes of their government and pay lower taxes. Yalman Onaran,, 11 May 2017

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

First Known Use of prying

1552, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About prying

Dictionary Entries Near prying




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for prying

Cite this Entry

“Prying.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for prying


pry·​ing | \ ˈprī-iŋ \

Kids Definition of prying

: rudely nosy prying questions

More from Merriam-Webster on prying

Nglish: Translation of prying for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prying for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!