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prick

[prik] /prɪk/
noun
1.
a puncture made by a needle, thorn, or the like.
2.
a sharp point; prickle.
3.
the act of pricking:
the prick of a needle.
4.
the state or sensation of being pricked.
5.
a sharp pain caused by or as if by being pricked; twinge.
6.
the pointed end of a prickspur.
7.
Slang: Vulgar.
  1. penis.
  2. an obnoxious or contemptible person.
8.
Archaic. a goad for oxen.
9.
Obsolete. a small or minute mark, a dot, or a point.
10.
Obsolete. any pointed instrument or weapon.
verb (used with object)
11.
to pierce with a sharp point; puncture.
12.
to affect with sharp pain, as from piercing.
13.
to cause sharp mental pain to; sting, as with remorse, anger, etc.:
His conscience pricked him.
14.
to urge on with or as if with a goad or spur:
My duty pricks me on.
15.
to mark (a surface) with pricks or dots in tracing something.
16.
to mark or trace (something) on a surface by pricks or dots.
17.
to cause to stand erect or point upward (usually followed by up):
The dog pricked his ears at the sound of the bell.
18.
Farriery.
  1. to lame (a horse) by driving a nail improperly into its hoof.
  2. to nick:
    to prick a horse's tail.
19.
to measure (distance, the size of an area, etc.) on a chart with dividers (usually followed by off).
20.
Horticulture. to transplant (a seedling) into a container that provides more room for growth (usually followed by out or off).
verb (used without object)
21.
to perform the action of piercing or puncturing something.
22.
to have a sensation of being pricked.
23.
to spur or urge a horse on; ride rapidly.
24.
to rise erect or point upward, as the ears of an animal (usually followed by up).
Idioms
25.
kick against the pricks, to resist incontestable facts or authority; protest uselessly:
In appealing the case again, you will just be kicking against the pricks.
26.
prick up one's ears, to become very alert; listen attentively:
The reporter pricked up his ears at the prospect of a scoop.
Origin
1000
before 1000; (noun) Middle English prike; Old English prica, price dot, point; (v.) Middle English priken, Old English prician; cognate with Dutch, Low German prik point
Related forms
pricker, noun
prickingly, adverb
unpricked, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for prick ears

prick

/prɪk/
verb (mainly transitive)
1.
  1. to make (a small hole) in (something) by piercing lightly with a sharp point
  2. to wound in this manner
2.
(intransitive) to cause or have a piercing or stinging sensation
3.
to cause to feel a sharp emotional pain knowledge of such poverty pricked his conscience
4.
to puncture or pierce
5.
to mark, delineate, or outline by dots or punctures
6.
(also intransitive) usually foll by up. to rise or raise erect; point the dog pricked his ears up at his master's call
7.
usually foll by out or off. to transplant (seedlings) into a larger container
8.
(often foll by off) (nautical) to measure or trace (a course, distance, etc) on a chart with dividers
9.
(archaic) to rouse or impel; urge on
10.
(intransitive) (archaic) to ride fast on horseback; spur a horse on
11.
prick up one's ears, to start to listen attentively; become interested
noun
12.
the act of pricking or the condition or sensation of being pricked
13.
a mark made by a sharp point; puncture
14.
a sharp emotional pain resembling the physical pain caused by being pricked a prick of conscience
15.
a taboo slang word for penis
16.
(slang, derogatory) an obnoxious or despicable man
17.
an instrument or weapon with a sharp point, such as a thorn, goad, bee sting, etc
18.
the footprint or track of an animal, esp a hare
19.
(obsolete) a small mark caused by pricking a surface; dot; point
20.
kick against the pricks, to hurt oneself by struggling against something in vain
Word Origin
Old English prica point, puncture; related to Dutch prik, Icelandic prik short stick, Swedish prick point, stick
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for prick ears

prick

n.

Middle English prikke, from Old English prica (n.) "point, puncture; particle, small portion of space or time," common West Germanic (cf. Low German prik "point," Middle Dutch prick, Dutch prik, Swedish prick "point, dot"). Meaning "pointed weapon, dagger" is first attested 1550s.

Earliest recorded use for "penis" is 1590s (Shakespeare puns upon it). My prick was used 16c.-17c. as a term of endearment by "immodest maids" for their boyfriends. As a term of abuse, it is attested by 1929. Prick-teaser attested from 1958. To kick against the pricks (Acts ix:5, first in the translation of 1382) is probably from sense of "a goad for oxen" (mid-14c.).

v.

Old English prician "to prick, pierce, prick out, sting," from West Germanic *prikojanan (cf. Low German pricken, Dutch prikken "to prick"); Danish prikke "to mark with dots," Swedish pricka "to point, prick, mark with dots" probably are from Low German. Related: Pricked; pricking. To prick up one's ears is 1580s, originally of animals with pointed ears (prycke-eared, of foxes, is from 1520s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for prick ears

prick

noun
  1. The penis; cock (1592+)
  2. A detestable person, esp a man; obnoxious wretch; asshole, bastard: He's an antagonistic prick (1929+)

[Farmer and Henley's Slang and Its Analogues includes six and a half pages of synonyms in the 1896 volume]


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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