prick

1 of 2

noun

1
: a mark or shallow hole made by a pointed instrument
2
a
: a pointed instrument or weapon
b
: a sharp projecting organ or part
3
: an instance of pricking or the sensation of being pricked: such as
a
: a nagging or sharp feeling of remorse, regret, or sorrow
b
: a slight sharply localized discomfort
the prick of a needle
4
vulgar : penis
5
slang, vulgar : a spiteful or contemptible man often having some authority

prick

2 of 2

verb

pricked; pricking; pricks

transitive verb

1
: to pierce slightly with a sharp point
2
: to affect with anguish, grief, or remorse
doubt began to prick him Philip Hale
3
: to ride, guide, or urge on with or as if with spurs : goad
4
: to mark, distinguish, or note by means of a small mark
5
: to trace or outline with punctures
6
: to remove (a young seedling) from the seedbed to another suitable for further growth
usually used with out
7
: to cause to be or stand erect
a dog pricking its ears

intransitive verb

1
a
: to prick something or cause a pricking sensation
b
: to feel discomfort as if from being pricked
2
a
: to urge a horse with the spur
b
: to ride fast
3
: thrust
4
: to become directed upward : point
Phrases
prick up one's ears
: to listen intently

Example Sentences

Noun She felt a prick as the thorn jabbed her foot. He felt the prick of the needle. She felt a prick of jealousy. Verb The nurse pricked my finger and squeezed out a drop of blood. The sharp shells pricked the bottoms of our feet. She was pricked by doubt. See More

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English prikke, from Old English prica; akin to Middle Dutch pric prick

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of prick was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near prick

Cite this Entry

“Prick.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/prick. Accessed 30 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

prick 1 of 2

noun

1
: a mark or small wound made by a pointed instrument
2
: something sharp or pointed
3
: an instance of pricking
4
: the sensation of being pricked

prick

2 of 2

verb

1
: to pierce slightly with a sharp point
2
: to have or cause a feeling of or as if of being pricked
3
: to point forward or upward
the dog's ears pricked up at the sound
prick up one's ears
: to listen with close attention
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