pry

To pry is to try and find something out that is none of your business. We all hate people who pry, sticking their nose into our personal affairs, and it is an annoying and disrespectful habit.

We are taught as children to ask questions, but sometimes those questions are used to pry, or peek into someone's private business. A nosy person will peek into some else's life the same way one might use a crowbar to pry open a crate (though — alert! — that pry has a different origin). Our word is thought to come from a word related to the Old English verb beprīwan, "to wink," which evolved into the Middle English prie, "to peer in," which gives us today's meaning.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: pry

1
v
be nosey
2
vn
to move or force, especially in an effort to get something open
a heavy iron lever with one end forged into a wedge
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: pry
1

v be nosey

“Don't pry into my personal matters!”
Type of:
ask, enquire, inquire
inquire about

v search or inquire in a meddlesome way

Synonyms:
horn in, intrude, nose, poke
Type of:
look, search
search or seek

v make an uninvited or presumptuous inquiry

“They pried the information out of him”
Synonyms:
prise
Type of:
extort, wring from
get or cause to become in a difficult or laborious manner
2

v to move or force, especially in an effort to get something open

Synonyms:
jimmy, lever, prise, prize
Type of:
open, open up
cause to open or to become open

n a heavy iron lever with one end forged into a wedge

Synonyms:
crowbar, pry bar, wrecking bar
Types:
jim crow
a crowbar fitted with a claw for pulling nails
jemmy, jimmy
a short crowbar
Type of:
lever
a rigid bar pivoted about a fulcrum
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