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pry1

[prahy] /praɪ/
verb (used without object), pried, prying.
1.
to inquire impertinently or unnecessarily into something:
to pry into the personal affairs of others.
2.
to look closely or curiously; peer; peep.
noun, plural pries.
3.
an impertinently inquisitive person.
4.
an act of prying.
Origin
1275-1325
1275-1325; Middle English pryen, prien < ?

pry2

[prahy] /praɪ/
verb (used with object), pried, prying.
1.
to move, raise, or open by leverage.
2.
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.
3.
a tool, as a crowbar, for raising, moving, or opening something by leverage.
4.
the leverage exerted.
Origin
1800-10; back formation from prize3, taken as a plural noun or 3rd person singular verb
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for pry
  • The bubbles then pry open the barrier at specific points targeted by the ultrasound beam.
  • To pry open the third eye, or squeegee it clean if you will anyways.
  • The birds' job was to find bits of cheese hidden in film canisters, then pry open the lids to get the food out.
  • When the two move forward and pry it open, their exhilaration quickly turns to disappointment.
  • Some pry open clam shells, others drill holes through them.
  • Sea stars move over a mussel and use their arms to pry open the mussel's shell.
  • Instead, he uses whatever tools he finds in the house to pry open locked drawers.
  • Failing to do so, the would-be thief then attempted unsuccessfully to pry the box open with a pry bar.
  • Their unique characteristic is the crossed tips that are used to pry open the cones for pine nuts.
  • If window still will not open, use a pry bar on the outside of the sash.
British Dictionary definitions for pry

pry1

/praɪ/
verb pries, prying, pried
1.
(intransitive) often foll by into. to make an impertinent or uninvited inquiry (about a private matter, topic, etc)
noun (pl) pries
2.
the act of prying
3.
a person who pries
Word Origin
C14: of unknown origin

pry2

/praɪ/
verb 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
Equivalent term (in Britain and other countries) prise
Word Origin
C14: 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
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Word Origin and History for pry
v.

"look inquisitively," c.1300, from prien "to peer in," of unknown origin, perhaps related to late Old English bepriwan "to wink." Related: Pried; prying. As a noun, "act of prying," from 1750; meaning "inquisitive person" is from 1845.

"raise by force," 1823, from a noun meaning "instrument for prying, crowbar;" alteration of prize (as though it were a plural) in obsolete sense of "lever" (c.1300), from Old French prise "a taking hold, grasp" (see prize (n.2)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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