From Middle English pryen, prien (“to look closely, peer into, pry, spy”), from Old English *prīwan, *prēowian (“to look narrowly, to squint at”), attested by Old English beprīwan, beprēwan (“to wink”). Akin to Old English *prēowot (“closing of the eyes”), attested only in combination, compare prēowthwīl (“blink or twinkling of an eye, moment”), Old English princ (“a wink”). More at prink.
- To look where one is not welcome; to be nosey.
- To look closely and curiously at.
- Watch thou and wake when others be asleep, / To pry into the secrets of the state.
- The act of prying.
- An excessively inquisitive person.
pry (plural pries)
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