A woman about to prick her finger on a cactus.
- The definition of a prick is a very small hole made by something sharp.
An example of a prick is what you'd have in your thumb after accidently stabbing yourself with a needle.
- To prick is to use a sharp point to make a small hole.
An example of prick is for a rose bush thorn to stick into your finger.
- a very small puncture or, formerly, dot, made by a sharp point
- Archaic any of various pointed objects, as a thorn, goad, etc.
- a sharp pain caused by or as if by being pricked
- the penis: considered vulgar by many
- a man regarded as bad-tempered, disagreeable, malicious, etc.: somewhat vulgar
Origin of prickMiddle English prike from Old English prica, point, dot, akin to Dutch prik, Middle High German pfrecken
- to make (a tiny hole) in (something) with a sharp point
- to cause to feel sharp pain in: remorse pricked his conscience
- to mark or trace by dots, points, or punctures
- to pierce (a horse's foot) to the quick in shoeing, causing lameness
- to cause to point or stick up: often with up
- Archaic to spur or urge on; goad; incite
- to cause or feel a slight, sharp pain
- to have a prickly or stinging sensation; tingle
- to point or stick up: said esp. of ears
- Archaic to spur a horse on; ride fast
prick up one's ears
- to raise the ears with the points upward: said of an animal
- to listen closely
- a. The act of piercing or pricking.b. The sensation of being pierced or pricked.
- a. A persistent or sharply painful feeling of sorrow or remorse.b. A small, sharp, local pain, such as that made by a needle or bee sting.
- A small mark or puncture made by a pointed object.
- A pointed object, such as an ice pick, goad, or thorn.
- Chiefly British A hare's track or footprint.
- Vulgar Slang A penis.
- Vulgar Slang A person considered to be mean or contemptible, especially a man.
verbpricked, prick·ing, pricks
- a. To puncture lightly.b. To make (a hole) by puncturing something.
- To spur (a horse).
- To affect with a mental or emotional pang, as of sorrow or remorse: criticism that pricked his conscience.
- To impel as if with a spur; stimulate or provoke.
- To mark or delineate on a surface by means of small punctures: prick a pattern on a board.
- To pierce the quick of (a horse's hoof) while shoeing.
- To transplant (seedlings, for example) before final planting.
- To cause to stand erect or point upward: The dogs pricked their ears.
- To pierce or puncture something or cause a pricking feeling.
- To feel a pang or twinge from being pricked.
- a. To spur a horse on.b. To ride at a gallop.
- To stand erect; point upward: The dog's ears pricked at the noise.
Origin of prickMiddle English from Old English prica puncture
- A small hole or perforation, caused by piercing. [from 10th c.]
- An indentation or small mark made with a pointed object. [from 10th c.]
- A small pointed object. [from 10th c.]
- The experience or feeling of being pierced or punctured by a small, sharp object. [from 13th c.]
- I felt a sharp prick as the nurse took a sample of blood.
- (slang, vulgar) The penis. [from 16th c.]
- (slang, pejorative) Someone (especially a man or boy) who is unpleasant, rude or annoying. [from 16th c.]
- (now historical) A small roll of yarn or tobacco. [from 17th c.]
- The footprint of a hare.
From Middle English prik, prikke, from Old English prica, pricu (“a sharp point, minute mark, spot, dot, small portion, prick"), from Proto-Germanic *prik- (“a prick, point"). Cognate with West Frisian prik (“small hole"), Dutch prik (“point, small stick"), Danish prik (“dot"), Icelandic prik (“dot, small stick"). Pejorative context came from prickers, or witch-hunters.
(third-person singular simple present pricks, present participle pricking, simple past and past participle pricked)
- To pierce or puncture slightly. [from 11th c.]
- John hardly felt the needle prick his arm when the adept nurse drew blood.
- To form by piercing or puncturing.
- to prick holes in paper
- to prick a pattern for embroidery
- to prick the notes of a musical composition
- (intransitive, dated) To be punctured; to suffer or feel a sharp pain, as by puncture.
- A sore finger pricks.
- To incite, stimulate, goad. [from 13th c.]
- To affect with sharp pain; to sting, as with remorse.
- (intransitive, archaic) To urge one's horse on; to ride quickly. [from 14th c.]
- (chiefly nautical) To mark the surface of (something) with pricks or dots; especially, to trace a ship's course on (a chart). [from 16th c.]
- To make acidic or pungent.
- (intransitive) To become sharp or acid; to turn sour, as wine.
- To aim at a point or mark.
- To fix by the point; to attach or hang by puncturing.
- to prick a knife into a board
- Sir Walter Scott
- Let the soldiers for duty be carefully pricked off.
- Those many, then, shall die: their names are pricked.
- To make sharp; to erect into a point; to raise, as something pointed; said especially of the ears of an animal, such as a horse or dog; and usually followed by up.
- (farriery) To drive a nail into (a horse's foot), so as to cause lameness.
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster's Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.