Main definitions of pry in English

: pry1pry2

pry1

verbprying, pries, pried

[no object]
  • Enquire too inquisitively into a person's private affairs.

    ‘I'm sick of you prying into my personal life’
    • ‘And many states have statutes to prevent employers from prying into an employee's private life.’
    • ‘‘Well I don't like people prying into my personal life either,’ I paused to give Markus a very pointed look.’
    • ‘We are following him, prying into the inmost privacy of someone else's life.’
    • ‘Not for the first time he attempts to personalise the issue by prying into my private affairs.’
    • ‘Not being one to pry I simply privately wondered at the specifics involved.’
    • ‘He wondered why Chinese are so persistent in their effort to pry into other people's personal affairs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Whatever happened to that unwritten rule about not prying into each others personal lives?’
    • ‘The general had no business prying into her personal life.’
    • ‘For any individual, privacy should be respected, with no one allowed to pry into and comment on someone else's personal affairs.’
    • ‘This Orwellian spirit encourages prying into individuals' thoughts and unguarded comments - while diverting attention from the issues that matter in our public life.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She'll think I'm prying into her business, it's not mine.’
    • ‘Or I'd say, Oh, no comment, or Mind your business, or Leave me alone and stop prying into my 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    inquisitive, curious, busybody, probing, spying, eavesdropping, impertinent, interfering, meddling, meddlesome, intrusive
    enquire impertinently into, investigate impertinently, be inquisitive about, be curious about, poke about in, poke around in, ferret in, ferret about in, ferret around in, delve into, eavesdrop on, listen in on
    View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation

pry

/prʌɪ/

Main definitions of pry in English

: pry1pry2

pry2

verbprying, pries, pried

North American
  • ‘he pried his left leg free’
    another term for prise
    • ‘Walking to the door, I found it locked and ad to sneak in the bathroom window, prying it open with a screwdriver form the garage.’
    • ‘He clung to me, and I clung to him until the family had to pry us apart.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘She hated to lose, this one, and he had pushed her hard, using her pride as a lever to pry away at any subterfuge.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The strange voice was beginning to get on her nerves talking in that matter-of-factly tone, and she tried even harder to bring herself to be able to pry her eyes open.’
    • ‘He walked over to the stall, looked in, and found her struggling to pry a small window open.’
    • ‘‘Let me see that,’ I said angrily grasping his strong jaw and prying his mouth open.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My idle hands proceeded to pound, wrench, twist, pry, and yank at anything I could get a hold on.’
    • ‘I walked around the house and pried my window open, crawling in.’
    • ‘Others pried apart the car doors, propping them open with the long wooden handle of Mr. Demczur's squeegee.’
    • ‘My ears strained toward the sirens and my heart pounded as the officers used a crowbar to pry away the door.’
    • ‘The next thing she remembers, her teenage son appeared at the door, physically pried her away, and helped her home.’
    • ‘I go to the window, pry it open, and punch out the screen.’
    • ‘We can't seem to pry ourselves away from the daily workplace routine even if we're thousands of miles away.’
    • ‘It took three men to pry me off and hold me down while they drew my blood.’
    • ‘I ran for the window and began prying it open with my arm.’
    • ‘He screamed frantically trying to pry the rusted latch open.’
    • ‘The hands moved from David's torso to his fists to pry them open.’
    • ‘He had to force himself to let Jim take his hand and pry the fingers open.’
    • ‘In addition, I'd hear noises resembling someone tugging / prying apart pieces of wood.’
    • ‘With some difficulty, she unlatched the window and pried it open, making as little noise as possible.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What seems like only moments later, I am waking up to feel him beginning to shift and pry himself carefully from my grip.’
    • ‘There would never be anyone who could get up to my room's window in the first place, pry it open from the outside and get in without me knowing.’
    • ‘Doors also take abuse from cab riders, who hold doors open, pry them apart, and force objects into the door sills so that they don't close.’
    • ‘For several moments I tried desperately to pry my eyes open.’
    • ‘Hackers move to pry such systems open and apart.’
    • ‘They reached the window and pried it open together.’
    • ‘When no more bubbles showed themselves, he then was able to pry off the door.’
    • ‘Jean was asleep when she heard her back door pried loose.’
    • ‘The only way I could open them was by prying them open with my fingers.’
    • ‘Once the padlock had been pried off, Emi pulled open the trapdoor and shone her little flashlight down into the depths.’
    • ‘Dallas was standing on the other side of the kitchen window, on the ledge, attempting to pry it open from the outside and crawl in.’
    • ‘I knocked lightly on the door, hoping to pry Angela out of the restroom.’
    • ‘It's not like a screwdriver, which you at least can use to pry a paint can open.’
    • ‘I do owe someone a rather lengthy post on Neil Gaiman and Sandman, so I suppose that will have to fulfill me until I can pry those long boxes open after the move.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

pry

/prʌɪ/