This Word Confusion started off as prise versus prys, which was really confusing since there is no plural for pry. And who knew that prise and prize could mean the same thing?
All three words (yep, they’re also heterographs) do share one definition in that they lever something out of or from something with force.
Prise is the most limited, as it uses a physical force.
Prize is both physical as well as having an emotional impact. In addition it can be a reward.
As for pries, it can also refer to people sneaking about and pushing their way into your private business…and if that isn’t a type of force, I’ll eat my hat.
Of course, prise and pries do have their own shared confusion…those transposed es and ss. I can’t tell you how many times I had to go back and correct them in this post!
And you may want to check out the difference between “Pride versus Prize“.
…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.
|Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Oxford Living Dictionaries: prise and pry; Dictionary.com: prize; The Free Dictionary: prize and pry; MacMillan Dictionary: pry|
|Part of Grammar:|
Variant spelling: prize
|Adjective 1; Noun 1, 2, and 3; Verb, transitive 3, 4
Variant spelling: prise
|Third person present verb for pry
Verb, intransitive & transitive
|Use force in order to move, move apart, or open something
[Prise something out of/from] Obtain something from (someone) with effort or difficulty
[Attrib., especially of something entered in a competition] Having been or likely to be awarded a reward
[Chiefly Southern US] Something used as a lever or for prying
Value extremely highly 4
A tool, as a crowbar, for raising, moving, or opening something by leverage
The leverage exerted
To force open by levering
[US and Canadian] To extract or obtain with difficulty
Lever something open/off/away, etc.
To obtain with effort or difficulty
|Paula is prising open the door and cursing up a blue streak.
He prised his left leg free.
I tried to prise Joe’s fingers away from the stick.
Using a screwdriver, he prised open the window.
To clean the scallops, prise the shells open with a knife, scraping and loosening from the flat shell.
I tried to prise it apart with a ruler, then I tried using a pair of scissors to try and lever the infernal plastic spindle apart.
The lid of the freezer gave a tiny groan as we prised it open.
Jamie got the loan, though he had to prise it out of the banker.
So I said, “What if I prise a contract out of him for the winter as well, and we all move out there?”
Aye, that Melvin is a prize bull.
Them’re some prize onions, Velma.
It was a prize crossword.
Brown’s results are a prize example of how well organic farming can function.
You must think I’m a prize idiot.
Miriam is quite proud of her prize roses.
The grand prize in the drawing.
When do we get the prize money?
Gimme that prize bar, Jimmy Joe.
The prize will be victory in the general election.
Nelson has taken a number of prizes.
The bicycle was her most prized possession.
He prized open the antique chest.
Andy, do you have that pry bar handy?
She was always prying into the affairs of others.
The press pries and pokes at anyone who might attract the readers’ attention.
He walks around the house, pries his window open, and crawls in.
She was crazy about water, ultimately, you couldn’t get her away from the ocean unless you pried and pulled her, taking her kicking and screaming!
They reached the window and pried it open together.
Paul always pries the lid off with a spoon.
Ken pries a confession out of the suspect.
Noun: prizefight, prizefighter, prizefighting, prizewinner
|History of the Word:|
|Late 16th century from dialect prise meaning lever, from the Old French prise maening grasp, taking hold.||
||Middle English, in the sense peer inquisitively is of unknown origin.|
C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?
Pinterest Photo Credits:
Alisha Vargas was resized and is under the CC BY 2.0 license, via Flickr. The resized Gold Bars had its background removed and a shadow added; it is under the CC0 license, via pxhere. The surroundings for the figure in Peek were removed; the image is by raulsantosdelacamara and is under the CC BY-SA 2.0 license, via VisualHunt.by