Main definitions of pry in English

: pry1pry2

pry1

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • Inquire too closely into a person's private affairs.

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

Origin

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

Pronunciation

pry

/prī/

Main definitions of pry in English

: pry1pry2

pry2

verb

[WITH OBJECT]North American
  • 1 Use force in order to move or open (something) or to separate (something) from something else.

    ‘using a screwdriver, he pried open the window’
    • ‘I walked around the house and pried my window open, crawling in.’
    • ‘He screamed frantically trying to pry the rusted latch open.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Hackers move to pry such systems open and apart.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They reached the window and pried it open together.’
    • ‘‘Let me see that,’ I said angrily grasping his strong jaw and prying his mouth open.’
    • ‘He had to force himself to let Jim take his hand and pry the fingers open.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I ran for the window and began prying it open with my arm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The only way I could open them was by prying them open with my fingers.’
    • ‘I go to the window, pry it open, and punch out the screen.’
    • ‘He walked over to the stall, looked in, and found her struggling to pry a small window open.’
    • ‘It's not like a screwdriver, which you at least can use to pry a paint can open.’
    • ‘For several moments I tried desperately to pry my eyes open.’
    • ‘With some difficulty, she unlatched the window and pried it open, making as little noise as possible.’
    • ‘The hands moved from David's torso to his fists to pry them 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.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1pry something out of/from Obtain something from (someone) with effort or difficulty.
      ‘I got the loan, though I had to pry it out of him’
      • ‘A ‘sustaining myth of journalism,’ as Epstein wrote 30 years ago in Commentary about the book All the President's Men, holds that reporters pry secrets out of government.’
      • ‘I gave up trying to pry the information out of her.’
      • ‘I wanted someone to ask me what was wrong, and when I say nothing, have them try to pry the information out of me.’
      • ‘He would pry it out of me and I knew that I would not have the strength to withhold my true feelings.’
      • ‘He kept trying to pry it out of me, and I, in return, remained stubbornly silent.’
      • ‘More amusingly, a Simon flack briefly attempted to ban me from the campaign after my latest efforts to pry answers out of his blandly evasive candidate.’
      • ‘I don't think we need to pry answers out of our children.’
      • ‘I know you won't really tell so what's the use of trying to pry it out of you.’
      • ‘I tried to pry things out of him, but he just wouldn't tell me what I wanted to hear.’
      • ‘We could do it if we could pry some money out of the hands of the rich.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

pry

/prī/