prying

adjective

pry·​ing ˈprī-iŋ How to pronounce prying (audio)
: inquisitive in an annoying, officious, or meddlesome way
pryingly adverb
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 But inquiring into the specifics of familial dynamics is impudent and prying -- and a line of questioning that most people would be happy to avoid answering themselves. Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin, oregonlive, 4 Feb. 2023 But inquiring into the specifics of familial dynamics is impudent and prying — and a line of questioning that most people would be happy to avoid answering themselves. Jacobina Martin, Washington Post, 4 Feb. 2023 The Google Nest Hub (7/10, WIRED Recommends) is a great smart display with no camera (and therefore no risk of unwanted prying eyes). Brenda Stolyar and Medea Giordano, WIRED, 28 Nov. 2022 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, Bloomberg.com, 11 May 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'prying.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1552, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of prying was in 1552

Dictionary Entries Near prying

Cite this Entry

“Prying.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prying. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

prying

adjective
pry·​ing
: given to asking about other people's affairs especially in an annoying or meddlesome way
pryingly
-iŋ-lē
adverb

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