Word Origin & History
early 13c., pris, from O.Fr. pris "price, value, wages, reward," also "honor, praise, prize" (Fr. prix), from L.L. precium, from L. pretium "reward, prize, value, worth," from PIE *preti- "back," on notion of "recompense" (cf. Skt. aprata "without recompense, gratuitously," Gk. protei "toward, to, upon,"
Lett. pret "opposite," O.C.S. protivu "in opposition to, against"). Praise, price, and prize began to diverge in O.Fr., with praise emerging in M.E. by early 14c. and prize being evident by late 1500s with the rise of the -z- spelling. Having shed the extra O.Fr. and M.E. senses, the word now again has the base sense of the L. original. The verb meaning "to set the price of" is attested from late 14c. Priceless (1590s) logically ought to mean the same as worthless, but it doesn't. Price-tag is recorded from 1881. Pricey "expensive" first attested 1932.