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A nosy, meddlesome person. The phrase refers to the title character of a 19th-century play by John Poole. Come on, Paul Pry, stop asking so many questions about my personal life!
1. Literally, to extract or remove something from something else with great force, especially with the use of a lever. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pry" and "out." I had to pry out all the rusty nails with the claw end of a hammer before we could begin repairing the damage to the fence. The sheriff pried the gun out of the suspect's hands.
2. To obtain or extract something, especially information, from someone with great effort, difficulty, or persistence. A noun or pronoun can be used between "pry" and "out." I had to pry the answer out of her when I asked where she had been. It was only after the judge threatened to charge him with contempt of court that his testimony was pried out of him.
to sneak or prowl around looking for something. Why are you prying around? Mind your own business! Please don't pry around. You might find out something you don't want to know.
pry into something
to snoop into something; to get into someone else's business. Why are you prying into my affairs all the time? I wish you wouldn't pry into my personal life.
pry something from someoneand pry something out of someone
to work information out of someone; to force someone to reveal information. I couldn't even pry her name from her. The police tried to pry the name of the killer out of Max.
pry something from somethingand pry something out (of something)
to remove something from something with or as if with a lever. See if you can pry this wedge from its slot. I pried the rotted board out of the side of the house.
pry something off (of) somethingand pry something off
to use a lever to get something off something. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) Tom pried the top off the jelly jar. He pried off the jar top.
pry something out
(of something) Go to pry something from something.
pry something up
to raise something with or as with a lever. See if you can pry that trapdoor up. Pry up that lid.
1. To extract something with or as if with a lever: I pried out the staples from the thick report. They pried the microphone out of my hands to stop me from singing.
2. To obtain something from someone with effort or difficulty: The detectives finally pried a confession out of the suspect. They kept questioning me until they had pried out all the information.