Definition of prise in English:


(also prize)


  • 1with object and adverbial of direction Use force in order to move, move apart, or open (something)

    ‘I tried to prise Joe's fingers away from the stick’
    ‘using a screwdriver, he prised open the window’
    • ‘Company staff were forced to carry out the grim task of prising the animals free.’
    • ‘To clean the scallops, prise the shells open with a knife, scraping and loosening from the flat shell.’
    • ‘I tried to prise it apart with a ruler, then I tried using a pair of scissors to try and lever the infernal plastic spindle apart.’
    • ‘The lid of the freezer gave a tiny groan as we prised it open.’
    • ‘While prizing Chris away from the dog kennels (cos he really wants a little dog), one or two cats caught our eye.’
    • ‘Last year there were 10 break-outs and 33 unsuccessful escape attempts, each involving detainees prising open windows under cover of darkness.’
    • ‘By prising the gas and electricity markets away from state-owned monopolies, EU policy aims to get prices down - and that could mean higher consumption.’
    • ‘Rescue workers managed to prise it open but no one was found inside.’
    • ‘She prised them apart and pulled out a crumbling flake of card.’
    • ‘Fire surrounds, wall panelling and window sills were all prised out and shipped along the coast.’
    • ‘At the time of writing, the hospitals of Baghdad are overflowing with the wounded and dying, as the city is prised apart by American tanks.’
    • ‘Eventually when it was prised open, I found some yellowed and brittle sheets of paper, most of them hand-written, but illegible now.’
    • ‘Well, no, it's just I need to prize myself from the Internet over the examination period and that means sacrificing blog updates.’
    • ‘Gingerly prising the door open half-expecting a private party or aftermath of a wedding reception, we were pleasantly surprised to be ushered in and offered drinks.’
    • ‘Too few people have been persuaded out of their cars and on to public transport; now they are being prized out.’
    • ‘The shale is extremely fragile, and Gess's main tool has been a pen knife, with which he systematically prises layers apart, centimetre by centimetre, or even millimetre by millimetre.’
    • ‘Navy also looked to be the favourites as Air Force had almost prised the championship away from Army on the Sunday, losing by only a goal in the dying moments of the game.’
    • ‘At about 3.15 pm a section of the steel fencing was prised apart by some revellers.’
    • ‘Anyway last night, after I managed to prize Debbie off the computer, going for just one more click for about ten minutes, we went upstairs to watch The Others.’
    • ‘Three minutes later the Liverpool defence was prised apart, alarmingly.’
    • ‘Broken edges can be made neat by cutting a square of turf behind the damage, prising it free, moving it forward and trimming off the broken part.’
    • ‘Culture can prise open minds and penetrate perceptions in a way that politics has long since failed to do.’
    • ‘Lift the clumps carefully and prise the bulbs apart causing as little damage to the roots as possible.’
    • ‘Alli insists his offer fully values the business, despite industry claims that he will need to push the bid to at least £120m to have any chance of prising the station from SMG.’
    lever, force, wrench, pull, wrest, twist
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1prise something out of/from Obtain something from (someone) with effort or difficulty.
      ‘I got the loan, though I had to prise it out of him’
      • ‘The Australian Cricket Board, to their eternal shame, secretly fined the players then covered it up until the papers prised the story out of them.’
      • ‘By dint of not mentioning snow, I gently prised the story out of him, learning that he'd fumbled the first deal and lost two or three months in the process.’
      • ‘Pearson was playing political hardball, using a pragmatic strategy designed to prise extra resources out of a conservative electorate and its government.’
      • ‘My weight knocked him off his feet and I wrestled with him in the mud of the street, swearing and cuffing at his head, until I managed to prise my wallet out of his hand.’
      • ‘So I said ‘What if I prise a contract out of him for the winter as well and we all move out there?’’
      extract with difficulty, obtain with difficulty, worm out
      View synonyms


Late 16th century: from dialect prise ‘lever’, from Old French prise ‘grasp, taking hold’. Compare with pry.