Main definitions of pry in English

: pry1pry2

pry1

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • Enquire too inquisitively into a person's private affairs:

    ‘I'm sick of you prying into my personal life’
    • ‘She didn't want to feel like she was prying into Keira's private life by going through her cupboard, but she thought that she'd be doing the girl a favour by cleaning it out.’
    • ‘Governments with a longstanding interest in prying into our lives were allowed to present such intrusion as being in our interests, necessary to prevent future terrorist attack.’
    • ‘He wondered why Chinese are so persistent in their effort to pry into other people's personal affairs.’
    • ‘For any individual, privacy should be respected, with no one allowed to pry into and comment on someone else's personal affairs.’
    • ‘‘Well I don't like people prying into my personal life either,’ I paused to give Markus a very pointed look.’
    • ‘Not being one to pry I simply privately wondered at the specifics involved.’
    • ‘At the same time, the French media is slowly but surely prying into the private lives of the politicians - slowly but surely exposing more details about what goes on behind the closed doors of the country's rulers.’
    • ‘We are following him, prying into the inmost privacy of someone else's life.’
    • ‘Or I'd say, Oh, no comment, or Mind your business, or Leave me alone and stop prying into my life.’
    • ‘Whatever happened to that unwritten rule about not prying into each others personal lives?’
    • ‘She'll think I'm prying into her business, it's not mine.’
    • ‘I knew that I had no right to pry into Brent's life; I wouldn't have wanted him prying into my business after all but I thought of him as a friend and I wanted him to open up to me.’
    • ‘Although the two of them were very good friends, they usually hesitated long and hard over prying into one another's affairs, at least until they were given an invitation to do so.’
    • ‘Some men earn their keep by prying into the lives of others, to inform their clients for fee whether those overseen or overheard are criminal, adulterous, employable.’
    • ‘And many states have statutes to prevent employers from prying into an employee's private life.’
    • ‘Even though Gibson was angry about what he considers harassment of his friends and family and prying into his personal life, he said he has already forgiven the reporter and those behind him.’
    • ‘The general had no business prying into her personal life.’
    • ‘This Orwellian spirit encourages prying into individuals' thoughts and unguarded comments - while diverting attention from the issues that matter in our public life.’
    • ‘Jake didn't want to go, remembering the outcome of last time he had to follow Geoffrey: a strange woman prying into his personal life.’
    • ‘Not for the first time he attempts to personalise the issue by prying into my private affairs.’
    inquisitive, curious, busybody, probing, spying, eavesdropping, impertinent, interfering, meddling, meddlesome, intrusive
    nosy, snooping, snoopy
    nebby
    enquire impertinently into, investigate impertinently, be inquisitive about, be curious about, poke about in, poke around in, ferret, ferret about in, ferret around in, delve into, eavesdrop on, listen in on
    mind someone else's business, be a busybody, tap someone's phone
    spy on, interfere in, meddle in, intrude on
    scrutinize, probe
    poke one's nose in, poke one's nose into, stick one's nose in, stick one's nose into, nose into, snoop about in, snoop around in, snoop round in
    stickybeak
    busy
    View synonyms

Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘peer inquisitively’): of unknown origin.

Pronunciation:

pry

/prʌɪ/

Main definitions of pry in English

: pry1pry2

pry2

verb

North American
  • ‘prying open the door’
    another term for prise
    ‘he pried his left leg free’
    • ‘When I wrote something, all the pages would stick together, and could not be pried apart without shredded them, and the words bled into a muddy mess of ink.’
    • ‘We can't seem to pry ourselves away from the daily workplace routine even if we're thousands of miles away.’
    • ‘Jean was asleep when she heard her back door pried loose.’
    • ‘Others pried apart the car doors, propping them open with the long wooden handle of Mr. Demczur's squeegee.’
    • ‘These will have to be removed or amended, and God help them if some newspaper gets a photo of someone prying one of those plaques off the wall.’
    • ‘Once the padlock had been pried off, Emi pulled open the trapdoor and shone her little flashlight down into the depths.’
    • ‘What seems like only moments later, I am waking up to feel him beginning to shift and pry himself carefully from my grip.’
    • ‘He clung to me, and I clung to him until the family had to pry us apart.’
    • ‘The next thing she remembers, her teenage son appeared at the door, physically pried her away, and helped her home.’
    • ‘My ears strained toward the sirens and my heart pounded as the officers used a crowbar to pry away the door.’
    • ‘It took three men to pry me off and hold me down while they drew my blood.’
    • ‘My idle hands proceeded to pound, wrench, twist, pry, and yank at anything I could get a hold on.’
    • ‘She hated to lose, this one, and he had pushed her hard, using her pride as a lever to pry away at any subterfuge.’
    • ‘When no more bubbles showed themselves, he then was able to pry off the door.’
    • ‘I knocked lightly on the door, hoping to pry Angela out of the restroom.’
    • ‘It took a while, but the superglue had to be dissolved first so that Schröder could finally be pried out of his seat of power.’
    • ‘She was crazy about water, ultimately, you couldn't get her away from the ocean unless you pried and pulled her, taking her kicking and screaming!’
    • ‘In addition, I'd hear noises resembling someone tugging / prying apart pieces of wood.’
    • ‘Jennifer raised her eyebrows and pried me away from Travis to sit at the table.’
    • ‘He pries off the wheels, affixes them on to a wooden plank, and a homemade skateboard is born.’

Origin

Early 19th century: from the verb prise, interpreted as pries, third person singular of the present tense.

Pronunciation:

pry

/prʌɪ/