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

Definition of prying

: inquisitive in an annoying, officious, or meddlesome way

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Other Words from prying

pryingly adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for prying



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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 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, "How people in China are trying to evade Beijing’s digital surveillance," 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, "How these librarians are changing how we think about digital privacy," 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,, "EU Passports for Sale in Cyprus Lure Rich Russians," 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.

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First Known Use of prying

1552, in the meaning defined above

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Cite this Entry

“Prying.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for prying



English Language Learners Definition of prying

: trying to find out about other people's private lives


pry·​ing | \ ˈprī-iŋ \

Kids Definition of prying

: rudely nosy prying questions

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Comments on prying

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