prick
Pronunciation
  • IPA: /pɹɪk/, [pʰɹ̠̊ɪk]
Noun

prick (plural pricks)

  1. A small hole or perforation, caused by piercing. [from 10th c.]
  2. An indentation or small mark made with a pointed object. [from 10th c.]
  3. (obsolete) A dot or other diacritical mark used in writing; a point. [10th-18th c.]
  4. (obsolete) A tiny particle; a small amount of something; a jot. [10th-18th c.]
  5. A small pointed object. [from 10th c.]
    • c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene iii]:
      Pins, wooden pricks, nails, sprigs of rosemary.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Acts 9:5 ↗:
      It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
  6. 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.
  7. A feeling of remorse.
    • the pricks of conscience
  8. (slang, vulgar) The penis. [from 16th c.]
  9. (UK, Australia, US, slang, pejorative) Someone (especially a man or boy) who is unpleasant, rude or annoying. [from 16th c.]
  10. (now, historical) A small roll of yarn or tobacco. [from 17th c.]
  11. The footprint of a hare.
  12. (obsolete) A point or mark on the dial, noting the hour.
    • c. 1591–1595, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Romeo and Ivliet”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act II, scene iv]:
      the prick of noon
  13. (obsolete) The point on a target at which an archer aims; the mark; the pin.
    • 1579, Edmund Spenser, The Shepheardes Calender, "September"
      they that shooten nearest the prick
Translations Translations Translations Translations Verb

prick (pricks, present participle pricking; past and past participle pricked)

  1. (transitive) To pierce or puncture slightly. [from 11th c.]
    John hardly felt the needle prick his arm when the adept nurse drew blood.
    1. (farriery) To drive a nail into (a horse's foot), so as to cause lameness.
  2. (transitive) 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
  3. (obsolete) To mark or denote by a puncture; to designate by pricking; to choose; to mark.
    • c. 1620, Francis Bacon, letter of advice to Sir George Villiers
      Some who are pricked for sheriffs.
    • 1823, [Walter Scott], Quentin Durward. [...] In Three Volumes, volume (please specify ), Edinburgh: Printed [by James Ballantyne and Co.] for Archibald Constable and Co.; London: Hurst, Robinson, and Co., OCLC 892089432 ↗:
    • 1599, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of Ivlivs Cæsar”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act IV, scene i]:
      Those many, then, shall die: their names are pricked.
  4. (transitive, 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.]
  5. (nautical, obsolete) To run a middle seam through the cloth of a sail.
  6. To fix by the point; to attach or hang by puncturing.
    to prick a knife into a board
    • The cooks prick it [a slice] on a prong of iron.
  7. (intransitive, dated) To be punctured; to suffer or feel a sharp pain, as by puncture.
    A sore finger pricks.
    • 17th century (probably 1606), William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act IV, scene 1:
      By the pricking of my thumbs, / Something wicked this way comes.
  8. (ambitransitive) To make or become 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.
    The dog's ears pricked up at the sound of a whistle.
    • The courser […] pricks up his ears.
  9. (horticulture) Usually in the form prick out: to plant (seeds or seedlings) in holes made in soil at regular intervals.
  10. (transitive) To incite, stimulate, goad. [from 13th c.]
    • 1589-93, Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona, ii. 7.
      My duty pricks me on to utter that.
  11. (intransitive, archaic) To urge one's horse on; to ride quickly. [from 14th c.]
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene, III.1:
      At last, as through an open plaine they yode, / They spide a knight that towards them pricked fayre […] .
    • 1667, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book II, lines 527 to 538.
      quote en
    • 1881, Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginibus Puerisque:
      Indeed, it is a memorable subject for consideration, with what unconcern and gaiety mankind pricks on along the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
  12. To affect with sharp pain; to sting, as with remorse.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), imprinted at London: By Robert Barker, […], OCLC 964384981 ↗, Acts 2:37 ↗:
      Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart.
    • ?, Alfred Tennyson, Geraint and Enid
      I was pricked with some reproof.
  13. (transitive) To make acidic or pungent.
  14. (intransitive) To become sharp or acid; to turn sour, as wine.
  15. To aim at a point or mark.
  16. (obsolete) Usually as prick up: to dress or adorn; to prink.
Translations


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