Try Our Apps


Supposedly vs. Supposably


[prig] /prɪg/
a person who displays or demands of others pointlessly precise conformity, fussiness about trivialities, or exaggerated propriety, especially in a self-righteous or irritating manner.
Origin of prig1
1560-70; formerly, coxcomb; perhaps akin to prink
Related forms
priggish, adjective
priggishly, adverb
priggishness, noun
unpriggish, adjective
prude, puritan, bluenose. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for priggish
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Her temper was even, and her nature was finer than her prim, priggish ways would have led the casual acquaintance to suppose.

    When Grandmamma Was New Marion Harland
  • He was deep in a business discussion with his priggish son-in-law.

    The Making of Bobby Burnit George Randolph Chester
  • At first Bobbie found it quite hard to be as nice to him as she wanted to be, for fear he should think her priggish.

  • He was selfish and priggish and worse, he was piggish—A regular beast of a brute.

  • They too can on such occasions be priggish if not downright hypocritical.

    Children's Ways James Sully
  • Perhaps it is priggish of me, but I feel that if I'm mean in one thing I may be mean in another.

    Changing Winds St. John G. Ervine
  • The praise given to him is not a priggish fiction of our conventional history, though such fictions have illogically curtailed it.

    What I Saw in America G. K. Chesterton
  • She watched Paul growing irritable, priggish, and melancholic.

    Sons and Lovers David Herbert Lawrence
  • To lug in morals, or ulterior effect on character at every point, is to cultivate moral valetudinarianism or priggish posing.

British Dictionary definitions for priggish


a person who is smugly self-righteous and narrow-minded
Derived Forms
priggery, priggishness, noun
priggish, adjective
priggishly, adverb
priggism, noun
Word Origin
C18: of unknown origin


verb prigs, prigging, prigged
another word for steal
another word for thief
Word Origin
C16: of unknown origin
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for priggish



"precisian in speech or manners," 1753, originally in reference to theological scruples (1704), of unknown origin; earlier appearances of the same word meaning "dandy, fop" (1670s), "thief" (c.1600; in form prigger recorded from 1560s) could be related, as could thieves' cant prig "a tinker" (1560s).

A p[rig] is wise beyond his years in all the things that do not matter. A p. cracks nuts with a steam hammer: that is, calls in the first principles of morality to decide whether he may, or must, do something of as little importance as drinking a glass of beer. On the whole, one may, perhaps, say that all his different characteristics come from the combination, in varying proportions, of three things--the desire to do his duty, the belief that he knows better than other people, & blindness to the difference in value between different things. ["anonymous essay," quoted in Fowler, 1926]
Related: Priggery.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for prig

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for priggish

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for priggish