priapic (adj.) Look up priapic at
"phallic," 1786, with -ic + Priapus (Greek Priapos), son of Dionysus and Aphrodite, the god who personified male reproductive power. His name is of unknown origin.
priapism (n.) Look up priapism at
"persistent erection of the penis," 1620s, from Late Latin priapismus, from Greek priapismos, from priapizein, from Priapos (see priapic + -ism).
price (n.) Look up price at
c. 1200, pris "value, worth; praise," later "cost, recompense, prize" (mid-13c.), from Old French pris "price, value, wages, reward," also "honor, fame, praise, prize" (Modern French prix), from Late Latin precium, from Latin pretium "reward, prize, value, worth," from PIE *pret-yo-, from root *per- (5) "to traffic in, to sell" (cognates: Sanskrit aprata "without recompense, gratuitously;" Greek porne "prostitute," originally "bought, purchased," pernanai "to sell;" Lithuanian perku "I buy").

Praise, price, and prize began to diverge in Old French, with praise emerging in Middle English by early 14c. and prize being evident by late 1500s with the rise of the -z- spelling. Having shed the extra Old French and Middle English senses, the word now again has the base sense of the Latin original. To set (or put) a price on someone, "offer a reward for capture" is from 1766.
price (v.) Look up price at
"to set the price of," late 14c., from price (n.) or from Old French prisier, variant of preisier "to value, estimate; to praise." Related: Priced; pricing.
price-tag (n.) Look up price-tag at
1881, from price (n.) + tag (n.).
priceless (adj.) Look up priceless at
"having a value beyond price," 1590s, from price (n.) + -less. Colloquial sense of "delightful" attested from 1907. Related: Pricelessly; pricelessness.
pricey (adj.) Look up pricey at
also pricy, "expensive," 1932, from price (n.) + -y (2).
prick (n.) Look up prick at
Middle English prikke, from Old English prica (n.) "point, puncture; particle, small portion of space or time," common Proto-Germanic (compare Low German prik "point," Middle Dutch prick, Dutch prik, Swedish prick "point, dot"). Meaning "pointed weapon, dagger" is first attested 1550s.

Earliest recorded use for "penis" is 1590s (Shakespeare puns upon it). My prick was used 16c.-17c. as a term of endearment by "immodest maids" for their boyfriends. As a term of abuse, it is attested by 1929. Prick-teaser attested from 1958. The use in kick against the pricks (Acts ix:5, first in the translation of 1382) probably is from sense of "a goad for oxen" (mid-14c.), which made it a plausible translation of Latin stimulus; advorsum stimulum calces was proverbial in Latin.
prick (v.) Look up prick at
Old English prician "to prick, pierce, prick out, sting," from West Germanic *prikojan (cognates: Low German pricken, Dutch prikken "to prick"), of uncertain origin. Danish prikke "to mark with dots," Swedish pricka "to point, prick, mark with dots" probably are from Low German. Related: Pricked; pricking. To prick up one's ears is 1580s, originally of animals with pointed ears (prycke-eared, of foxes, is from 1520s).
prickle (n.) Look up prickle at
Old English pricel "thing to prick with, goad, point," from the same source as Old English prician (see prick (v.)) with instrumental suffix -el (1). Compare Middle Low German prickel, Dutch prikkel.
prickly (adj.) Look up prickly at
1570s, "spiny, armed with prickles" (originally of holly leaves), from prickle (n.) + -y (2). Figurative sense of "irritable" first recorded 1862. Prickly heat is from 1736, so called for the sensation; prickly pear is from 1760 (earlier prickle pear, 1610s). Related: Prickliness.
pride (n.) Look up pride at
late Old English pryto, Kentish prede, Mercian pride "pride, haughtiness, pomp," from prud (see proud). There is debate whether Scandinavian cognates (Old Norse pryði, Old Swedish prydhe , Danish pryd, etc.) are borrowed from Old French (from Germanic) or from Old English. Meaning "that which makes a person or people most proud" is from c. 1300. First applied to groups of lions late 15c., but not commonly so used until c. 1930. Paired with prejudice from 1610s.
pride (v.) Look up pride at
mid-12c. in the reflexive sense "congratulate (oneself), be proud," c. 1200 as "be arrogant, act haughtily," from pride (n.). Related: Prided; priding.
prideful (adj.) Look up prideful at
c. 1500, from pride (n.) + -ful. Related: Pridefully; pridefulness. Old English had prutswongor "overburdened with pride."
prier (n.) Look up prier at
"one who pries," 1550s, agent noun from pry.
priest (n.) Look up priest at
Old English preost probably shortened from the older Germanic form represented by Old Saxon and Old High German prestar, Old Frisian prestere, all from Vulgar Latin *prester "priest," from Late Latin presbyter "presbyter, elder," from Greek presbyteros (see Presbyterian).

An alternative theory (to account for the -eo- of the Old English word) makes it cognate with Old High German priast, prest, from Vulgar Latin *prevost "one put over others," from Latin praepositus "person placed in charge," from past participle of praeponere (see provost). In Old Testament sense, a translation of Hebrew kohen, Greek hiereus, Latin sacerdos.
priestcraft (n.) Look up priestcraft at
late 15c., "business of being a priest," from priest + craft (n.). After rise of Protestantism and the Enlightenment, it acquired a pejorative sense of "arts and devices of ambitious priests for attaining and holding temporal power and social control" (1680s).
priestess (n.) Look up priestess at
1690s, from priest + -ess. Earlier was priestress (late 15c.).
priesthood (n.) Look up priesthood at
Old English preosthad; see priest + -hood.
priestly (adj.) Look up priestly at
mid-15c.; see priest + -ly (1). Old English had preostlic, but the modern word seems to be a Middle English re-formation.
prig (n.) Look up prig at
"precisian in speech or manners," 1753, originally in reference to theological scruples (1704), of unknown origin; earlier appearances of the same word meaning "dandy, fop" (1670s), "thief" (c. 1600; in form prigger recorded from 1560s) could be related, as could thieves' cant prig "a tinker" (1560s).
A p[rig] is wise beyond his years in all the things that do not matter. A p. cracks nuts with a steam hammer: that is, calls in the first principles of morality to decide whether he may, or must, do something of as little importance as drinking a glass of beer. On the whole, one may, perhaps, say that all his different characteristics come from the combination, in varying proportions, of three things--the desire to do his duty, the belief that he knows better than other people, & blindness to the difference in value between different things. ["anonymous essay," quoted in Fowler, 1926]
Related: Priggery.
prim Look up prim at
1680s (v.) "to assume a formal, precise demeanor," perhaps from French prim "thin, small, delicate," from Old French prim "fine, delicate," from Latin primus "finest," literally "first" (see prime (adj.)). Later, "deck out, dress to effect" (1721). Attested as a noun from 1700. The adjective, the sole surviving sense, is from 1709. A cant word at first. Related: Primly; primness.
prima Look up prima at
Italian fem. of primo "first" (see primo); as in prima ballerina (1799).
prima donna (n.) Look up prima donna at
1782, "principal female singer in an opera," from Italian prima donna "first lady," from Latin prima, fem. of primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + domina "lady" (see dame). Meaning "temperamental person" first recorded 1834.
prima facie Look up prima facie at
Latin, literally "at first sight," ablative of prima facies "first appearance," from prima, fem. singular of primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + facies "form, face" (see face (n.)).
primacy (n.) Look up primacy at
late 14c., from Old French primacie (14c., in Modern French spelled primatie) and directly from Medieval Latin primatia "office of a church primate" (late 12c.), from Late Latin primas (genitive primatis) "principal, chief, of the first rank" (see primate).
primal (adj.) Look up primal at
c. 1600, "belonging to the earliest age," from Medieval Latin primalis "primary," from Latin primus "first" (see prime (adj.)). Psychological sense, in reference to Freud's theory of behaviors springing from the earliest stage of emotional development, is attested from 1918. Primal scream is from a best-selling book of 1971.
primary (adj.) Look up primary at
early 15c., "of the first order," from Latin primarius "of the first rank, chief, principal, excellent," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)). Meaning "first in order" is from 1802. Primary color is first recorded 1610s (at first the seven of the spectrum, later the three from which others can be made); primary school is 1802, from French école primaire.
The Paris journals ... are full of a plan, brought forward by Fourcroy, for the establishment of primary schools, which is not interesting to an English reader. [London "Times," April 27, 1802]
Related: Primarily.
primary (n.) Look up primary at
1861, American English, short for primary election (1792, with reference to France; in a U.S. context from 1835); earlier primary caucus (1821).
primate (n.) Look up primate at
"high bishop," c. 1200, from Old French primat and directly from Medieval Latin primatem (nominative primas) "church primate," noun use of Late Latin adjective primas "of the first rank, chief, principal," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)).

Meaning "animal of the biological order including monkeys and humans" is attested from 1876, from Modern Latin Primates (Linnæus), from plural of Latin primas; so called from supposedly being the "highest" order of mammals (originally also including bats).
primatology (n.) Look up primatology at
"study of Primates," 1941, from primate (n.) + -ology.
primavera (n.) Look up primavera at
"spring, spring time," Italian, from Latin prima vera, plural of primus ver literally "first spring;" see prime (adj.) + vernal. Related: Primaveral.
prime (adj.) Look up prime at
late 14c., "first in order," from Latin primus "first, the first, first part," figuratively "chief, principal; excellent, distinguished, noble" (source also of Italian and Spanish primo), from pre-Italic *prismos, superlative of PIE *preis- "before," from root *per- (1) "beyond, through" (see per).

Meaning "first in importance" is from 1610s in English; that of "first-rate" is from 1620s. Arithmetical sense (as in prime number) is from 1560s; prime meridian is from 1878. Prime time originally (c. 1500) meant "spring time;" broadcasting sense of "peak tuning-in period" is attested from 1961.
prime (n.) Look up prime at
"earliest canonical hour" (6 a.m.), Old English prim, from Medieval Latin prima "the first service," from Latin prima hora "the first hour" (of the Roman day). Meaning "most vigorous stage" first recorded 1530s; specifically "springtime of human life" (often meaning ages roughly 21 to 28) is from 1590s. In classical Latin, noun uses of the adjective meant "first part, beginning; leading place."
prime (v.) Look up prime at
"to fill, charge, load" (a weapon), 1510s, probably from prime (adj.). Meaning "to cover with a first coat of paint or dye" is from c. 1600. To prime a pump (c. 1840) meant to pour water down the tube, which saturated the sucking mechanism and made it draw up water more readily. Related: Primed; priming.
prime minister Look up prime minister at
1640s, see prime (adj.) and minister (n.). Applied to the First Minister of State of Great Britain since 1694.
primer (n.3) Look up primer at
"first layer of dye or paint," 1680s, from prime (v.).
primer (n.1) Look up primer at
late 14c., "prayer-book," also "school book" (senses not distinguished in Middle Ages, as reading was taught from prayer books), from Medieval Latin primarius, from Latin primus "first" (see prime (adj.)). The word also might be all or in part from prime (n.) on the same notion as a "Book of Hours." Meaning "small introductory book on any topic" is from 1807.
primer (n.2) Look up primer at
"explosive cap," 1819, agent noun from prime (v.).
primeval (adj.) Look up primeval at
also primaeval, 1650s, with -al (1) + Latin primaevus "early in life, youthful," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + aevum "an age" (see eon).
primigravida Look up primigravida at
1879, from earlier use in German, from Modern Latin, from Latin primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + gravidus "laden, full, swollen, pregnant with child" (see gravid).
priming (n.) Look up priming at
"first coat of paint," c. 1600, verbal noun from prime (v.). Meaning "gunpowder in the pan of a firearm" is from 1590s.
primipara (n.) Look up primipara at
1842, Modern Latin, from Latin primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + parus (see -parous).
primitive (adj.) Look up primitive at
late 14c., "of an original cause; of a thing from which something is derived; not secondary" (a sense now associated with primary), from Old French primitif "very first, original" (14c.) and directly from Latin primitivus "first or earliest of its kind," from primitus "at first," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)).

Meaning "of or belonging to the first age" is from early 15c. Meaning "having the style of an early or ancient time" is from 1680s. In Christian sense of "adhering to the qualities of the early Church" it is recorded from 1680s. Of untrained artists from 1942. Related: Primitively.
primitive (n.) Look up primitive at
c. 1400, "original ancestor," from Latin primitivus (see primitive (adj.)). Meaning "aboriginal person in a land visited by Europeans" is from 1779, hence the sense "uncivilized person."
primitivism (n.) Look up primitivism at
1861, from primitive + -ism. Related: Primitivist.
primo Look up primo at
1740, in music terms, from Italian primo "first, chief," from Latin primus (see prime (adj.)). As slang for "excellent, first-class," perhaps an elaboration of prime. Of drugs, by 1990s, street slang.
primogenitor (n.) Look up primogenitor at
"an ancestor," late 15c., from Medieval Latin primogenitor, from Latin primo (adv.) "first in order of time; at first," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + genitor "father," from genitus, past participle of gignere "to beget" (see genus). Related: Primogenital; primogenitary. The fem. form is primogenitrix (1875). The rights of a second son are secundogeniture.
primogeniture (n.) Look up primogeniture at
"right of succession of the first-born," c. 1600, from French primogeniture and directly from Medieval Latin primogenitura, from Late Latin primogenitus "first-born," from Latin primo (adv.) "first in order of time," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + genitus, past participle of gignere "to beget" (see genus). Earlier it meant simply "fact of being first-born" (1590s).
primordial (adj.) Look up primordial at
late 14c., from Late Latin primordialis "first of all, original," from Latin primordium "a beginning, the beginning, origin, commencement," from primus "first" (see prime (adj.)) + stem of ordiri "to begin" (see order (n.)). Related: Primordially.