from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The act of piercing or pricking.
  • noun The sensation of being pierced or pricked.
  • noun A persistent or sharply painful feeling of sorrow or remorse.
  • noun A small, sharp, local pain, such as that made by a needle or bee sting.
  • noun A small mark or puncture made by a pointed object.
  • noun A pointed object, such as an ice pick, goad, or thorn.
  • noun Chiefly British A hare's track or footprint.
  • noun Vulgar Slang A penis.
  • noun Vulgar Slang A person considered to be mean or contemptible, especially a man.
  • intransitive verb To puncture lightly.
  • intransitive verb To make (a hole) by puncturing something.
  • intransitive verb To spur (a horse).
  • intransitive verb To affect with a mental or emotional pang, as of sorrow or remorse.
  • intransitive verb To impel as if with a spur; stimulate or provoke.
  • intransitive verb To mark or delineate on a surface by means of small punctures.
  • intransitive verb To pierce the quick of (a horse's hoof) while shoeing.
  • intransitive verb To transplant (seedlings, for example) before final planting.
  • intransitive verb To cause to stand erect or point upward.
  • intransitive verb To pierce or puncture something or cause a pricking feeling.
  • intransitive verb To feel a pang or twinge from being pricked.
  • intransitive verb To spur a horse on.
  • intransitive verb To ride at a gallop.
  • intransitive verb To stand erect; point upward.
  • idiom (prick up (one's) ears) To listen with attentive interest.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To pierce with a sharp point; puncture; wound.
  • To fix or insert by the point: as, to prick a knife into a board.
  • To transfix or impale.
  • To fasten by means of a pin or other pointed instrument; stick.
  • To pick out with or as with a needle.
  • To spur, as a horse; hence, to stimulate to action; goad; incite; impel.
  • To affect with sharp pain; sting, as with remorse or sorrow.
  • To cause to point upward; erect: said chiefly of the ears, and primarily of the pointed ears of certain animals, as the horse: generally with up: hence, to prick up the ears, to listen with eager attention, or evince eager attention.
  • To stick upon by way of decoration; stick full, as of flowers or feathers; hence, to decorate; adorn; prink.
  • To place a point, dot, or similar mark upon; mark.
  • To designate by a mark or dot; hence, to choose or select. Compare pricking for sheriffs, under pricking.
  • To mark or trace by puncturing.
  • To trace or track by the marks or footsteps, as a hare.
  • Nautical, to run a middle seam through the cloth of (a sail).
  • To aim, as at a point or mark.
  • To give a sensation as of being pricked or punctured with a sharp point; also, to have such a sensation.
  • To spur on; ride rapidly; post; speed.
  • To point upward; stand erect.
  • To dress one's self for show; prink.
  • To germinate.
  • To become acid or sour.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old English prica, puncture.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Old English prica, from Proto-Germanic. Cognate with West Frisian prik ("small hole"), Dutch prik ("point, small stick"), Icelandic prik ("dot, small stick"). Pejorative context came from prickers, or witch-hunters.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English prikken, from Old English prician


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  • A tube is stuck up my prick, and a bladder carcinoma diagnosed. One does not recall Piccinni.

    - Peter Reading, C, 1984

    July 4, 2008

  • Finally, someone is willing to say what they really mean:

    "His top contenders are said to include Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Less traditional choices mentioned include former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, an abortion-rights supporter, and Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, the Democratic vice presidential prick in 2000 who now is an independent."

    -AP, Obama Veep Announcement Expected in Coming Days

    August 20, 2008

  • Skipvia, thank you, that made my night (and Errata).

    August 20, 2008

  • *snufflesnort!*

    August 20, 2008

  • Hahaha! Good grief, where are the proofreaders?

    August 20, 2008