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Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English prise, from Old French prise (a taking, capture, a seizure, a thing seized, a prize, booty, also hold, purchase), past participle of prendre (to take, to capture), from Latin prēndere (to take, seize); see prehend. Compare prison, apprise, comprise, enterprise, purprise, reprisal, surprise, etc.



prize (plural prizes)

  1. That which is taken from another; something captured; a thing seized by force, stratagem, or superior power.
  2. (military, nautical) Anything captured by a belligerent using the rights of war; especially, property captured at sea in virtue of the rights of war, as a vessel.
    • 1724, Charles Johnson, “Of Captain Avery, and His Crew”, in A General History of the Pyrates, [], 2nd edition, London: Printed for, and sold by T. Warner, [], →OCLC, page 51:
      Having taken all the Treasure on Board their own Ships, and plundered their Prize of every Thing elſe they either wanted or liked, they let her go; ſhe not being able to continue her Voyage, returned back: []
  3. An honour or reward striven for in a competitive contest; anything offered to be competed for, or as an inducement to, or reward of, effort.
  4. That which may be won by chance, as in a lottery.
    • 1928, Weston Jarvis, Jottings from an Active Life[1], London: Heath Cranton, page 256:
      Cecil Rhodes [] was never tired of impressing upon one that the fact of being an Englishman was “the greatest prize in the lottery of life,” and that it was that thought which always sustained him when he was troubled.
  5. Anything worth striving for; a valuable possession held or in prospect.
  6. (obsolete) A contest for a reward; competition.
  7. A lever; a pry; also, the hold of a lever.
    Synonym: prise
Usage notes[edit]

Do not confuse with price.

Derived terms[edit]
Terms derived from prize
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

See also[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English prysen, borrowed from Old French priser (to set a price or value on, esteem, value), from pris (price), from Latin pretium (price, value), whence price; see also praise, a doublet. Compare appraise, apprize.


prize (third-person singular simple present prizes, present participle prizing, simple past and past participle prized)

  1. To consider highly valuable; to esteem.
  2. (obsolete) To set or estimate the value of; to appraise; to price; to rate.
  3. To move with a lever; to force up or open; to prise or pry.
  4. (obsolete) To compete in a prizefight.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


prize (not comparable)

  1. Having won a prize; award-winning.
    a prize vegetable
  2. First-rate; exceptional.
    He was a prize fool.

Etymology 4[edit]

Alternative forms.


prize (plural prizes)

  1. Obsolete form of price. [16th–19th c.]
    • 1777, Joshua Reynolds, edited by John Ingamells and John Edgcumbe, The Letters of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Yale, published 2000, page 69:
      My prizes – for a head is thirty five Guineas – As far as the Knees seventy – and for a whole-length one hundred and fifty.

Further reading[edit]