Definition of prise in English:


(US 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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Too few people have been persuaded out of their cars and on to public transport; now they are being prized out.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The lid of the freezer gave a tiny groan as we prised it open.’
    • ‘Culture can prise open minds and penetrate perceptions in a way that politics has long since failed to do.’
    • ‘At about 3.15 pm a section of the steel fencing was prised apart by some revellers.’
    • ‘Well, no, it's just I need to prize myself from the Internet over the examination period and that means sacrificing blog updates.’
    • ‘While prizing Chris away from the dog kennels (cos he really wants a little dog), one or two cats caught our eye.’
    • ‘Eventually when it was prised open, I found some yellowed and brittle sheets of paper, most of them hand-written, but illegible now.’
    • ‘Last year there were 10 break-outs and 33 unsuccessful escape attempts, each involving detainees prising open windows under cover of darkness.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Lift the clumps carefully and prise the bulbs apart causing as little damage to the roots as possible.’
    • ‘She prised them apart and pulled out a crumbling flake of card.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Rescue workers managed to prise it open but no one was found inside.’
    • ‘Three minutes later the Liverpool defence was prised apart, alarmingly.’
    • ‘Fire surrounds, wall panelling and window sills were all prised out and shipped along the coast.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘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?’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      extract with difficulty, obtain with difficulty, worm out
      View synonyms


Late 17th century: from dialect prise ‘lever’, from Old French prise ‘grasp, taking hold’. Compare with pry.