"thing to prick with," from the same source as O.E. prician
) with W.Gmc. instrumental suffix *-islja
(cf. M.L.G. prickel,
"spiny, armed with prickles" is from 1578 (originally of holly leaves); fig. sense of "irritable" first recorded 1862. Prickly heat
is from 1736, so called for the sensation; prickly pear
is from 1760.