noun, verb (used with object) Scot. and North England. Unabridged


1 [prahy]
verb (used without object), pried, prying.
to inquire impertinently or unnecessarily into something: to pry into the personal affairs of others.
to look closely or curiously; peer; peep.
noun, plural pries.
an impertinently inquisitive person.
an act of prying.

1275–1325; Middle English pryen, prien < ?


2 [prahy]
verb (used with object), pried, prying.
to move, raise, or open by leverage.
to get, separate, or ferret out with difficulty: to pry a secret out of someone; We finally pried them away from the TV.
noun, plural pries.
a tool, as a crowbar, for raising, moving, or opening something by leverage.
the leverage exerted.

1800–10; back formation from prize3, taken as a plural noun or 3rd person singular verb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
pry1 (praɪ)
vb (often foll by into) , pries, prying, pried
1.  to make an impertinent or uninvited inquiry (about a private matter, topic, etc)
n , pries, prying, pried, pries
2.  the act of prying
3.  a person who pries
[C14: of unknown origin]

pry2 (praɪ)
vb , pries, prying, pried
1.  to force open by levering
2.  (US), (Canadian) to extract or obtain with difficulty: they had to pry the news out of him
[C14: of unknown origin]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

"look inquisitively," 1307, from prien "to peer in," of unknown origin, perhaps from O.E. bepriwan "to wink."

"raise by force," 1823 (originally also a noun, "an instrument for prying, a crowbar"), alteration of prize (as though it were a plural) in obsolete sense of "lever" (c.1300), from O.Fr. prise "a taking hold, grasp" (see prize (n.2)).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
When it is, no additional effort can be pried out of them.
You'd think this might decrease violence but a network of linked dealers can
  only be pried apart by violence.
With gentle tenacity, she pried loose memories of long-gone ancestors from
  elderly villagers.
He unbuckled the strap of a trunk, pried it open, and began carefully sorting
  the cracked leather volumes.
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