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

/prī//praɪ/

Main definitions of pry in US English:

: pry1pry2

pry2

verb

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

    ‘using a screwdriver, he pried open the window’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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!’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He walked over to the stall, looked in, and found her struggling to pry a small window open.’
    • ‘I ran for the window and began prying it open with my arm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He pries off the wheels, affixes them on to a wooden plank, and a homemade skateboard is born.’
    • ‘I go to the window, pry it open, and punch out the screen.’
    • ‘What seems like only moments later, I am waking up to feel him beginning to shift and pry himself carefully from my grip.’
    • ‘It's not like a screwdriver, which you at least can use to pry a paint can open.’
    • ‘Hackers move to pry such systems open and apart.’
    • ‘The next thing she remembers, her teenage son appeared at the door, physically pried her away, and helped her home.’
    • ‘I walked around the house and pried my window open, crawling in.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He had to force himself to let Jim take his hand and pry the fingers open.’
    • ‘For several moments I tried desperately to pry my eyes open.’
    • ‘We can't seem to pry ourselves away from the daily workplace routine even if we're thousands of miles away.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘My ears strained toward the sirens and my heart pounded as the officers used a crowbar to pry away the door.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I knocked lightly on the door, hoping to pry Angela out of the restroom.’
    • ‘The hands moved from David's torso to his fists to pry them 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.’
    • ‘He screamed frantically trying to pry the rusted latch open.’
    • ‘With some difficulty, she unlatched the window and pried it open, making as little noise as possible.’
    • ‘He clung to me, and I clung to him until the family had to pry us apart.’
    • ‘It took three men to pry me off and hold me down while they drew my blood.’
    • ‘Once the padlock had been pried off, Emi pulled open the trapdoor and shone her little flashlight down into the depths.’
    • ‘‘Let me see that,’ I said angrily grasping his strong jaw and prying his mouth open.’
    • ‘They reached the window and pried it open together.’
    • ‘She hated to lose, this one, and he had pushed her hard, using her pride as a lever to pry away at any subterfuge.’
    • ‘My idle hands proceeded to pound, wrench, twist, pry, and yank at anything I could get a hold on.’
    • ‘When no more bubbles showed themselves, he then was able to pry off the door.’
    • ‘In addition, I'd hear noises resembling someone tugging / prying apart pieces of wood.’
    • ‘Others pried apart the car doors, propping them open with the long wooden handle of Mr. Demczur's squeegee.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Jennifer raised her eyebrows and pried me away from Travis to sit at the table.’
    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’
      • ‘I gave up trying to pry the information out of her.’
      • ‘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 don't think we need to pry answers out of our children.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He would pry it out of me and I knew that I would not have the strength to withhold my true feelings.’
      • ‘I wanted someone to ask me what was wrong, and when I say nothing, have them try to pry the information out of me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He kept trying to pry it out of me, and I, in return, remained stubbornly silent.’
      • ‘I know you won't really tell so what's the use of trying to pry it out of you.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

pry

/prī//praɪ/