prowl (v.) Look up prowl at
late 14c., prollen, "move about in search of something," of unknown origin, with no known cognates. Spelling with -w- is from 1500s (compare bowls), but pronounced "prôll" till late 18c. Meaning "go stealthily in search of prey" is first recorded 1580s. Related: Prowled; prowling. The noun, in on the prowl, is attested from 1803.
prowler (n.) Look up prowler at
1510s, proller, agent noun from prowl (v.).
prowling (n.) Look up prowling at
mid-15c., verbal noun from prowl (v.).
proxemics (n.) Look up proxemics at
1963, coined from proximity + -emics.
proximal (adj.) Look up proximal at
1727, from Latin proximus "nearest, next" (see proximity) + -al (1). Related: Proximally.
proximate (adj.) Look up proximate at
"neighboring," 1590s (implied in proximately), from Late Latin proximatus, past participle of proximare "to draw near," from proximus "nearest, next; most direct; adjoining," figuratively "latest, most recent; next, following; most faithful," superlative of prope "near" (see propinquity).
proximity (n.) Look up proximity at
late 15c., from Middle French proximité "nearness" (14c.), from Latin proximitatem (nominative proximitas) "nearness, vicinity," from proximus "nearest, next; most direct; adjoining," figuratively "latest, most recent; next, following; most faithful," superlative of prope "near" (see propinquity).
proxy (n.) Look up proxy at
early 15c., proccy, prokecye, "agency of one who acts instead of another; letter of power of attorney," contraction of Anglo-French procuracie (c. 1300), from Medieval Latin procuratia "administration," from Latin procuratio "a caring for, management," from procurare "manage" (see procure). Also compare proctor (n.). Meaning "person who acts in place of another" is from 1610s.
Prozac (n.) Look up Prozac at
1985, proprietary name for fluoxetine hydrochloride, developed early 1970s by Lilly Industries.
prude (n.) Look up prude at
1704, "woman who affects or upholds modesty in a degree considered excessive," from French prude "excessively prim or demure woman," first recorded in Molière. Perhaps a false back-formation or an ellipsis of preudefemme "a discreet, modest woman," from Old French prodefame "noblewoman, gentlewoman; wife, consort," fem. equivalent of prudhomme "a brave man" (see proud); or perhaps a direct noun use of the French adjective prude "prudish," from Old French prude, prode, preude "good, virtuous, modest," a feminine form of the adjective preux. Also occasionally as an adjective in English 18c.
prudence (n.) Look up prudence at
mid-14c. (c. 1200 as a surname), mid-14c., "intelligence; discretion, foresight; wisdom to see what is suitable or profitable;" also one of the four cardinal virtues, "wisdom to see what is virtuous;" from Old French prudence (13c.) and directly from Latin prudentia "a foreseeing, foresight, sagacity, practical judgment," contraction of providentia "foresight" (see providence). Secondary sense of "wisdom" (late 14c.) is preserved in jurisprudence.
Prudence Look up Prudence at
fem. proper name; see prudence.
prudent (adj.) Look up prudent at
late 14c., from Old French prudent "with knowledge, deliberate" (c. 1300), from Latin prudentem (nominative prudens) "knowing, skilled, sagacious, circumspect;" rarely in literal sense "foreseeing;" contraction of providens, present participle of providere "look ahead, prepare, supply, act with foresight," from pro "ahead" (see pro-) + videre "to see" (from PIE root *weid- "to see"). Related: Prudently.
prudential (adj.) Look up prudential at
mid-15c., from Medieval Latin prudentialis, from Latin prudentia "a foreseeing, foresight" (see prudence). Related: Prudentially. Prudential, the U.S. insurance company, dates to the 1870s; its logo featuring the Rock of Gibraltar dates from c. 1900 and was widely known 20c.
prudery (n.) Look up prudery at
1709, from prude + -ery and in part from French pruderie.
The peculiarity of prudery is to multiply sentinels, in proportion as the fortress is less threatened. [Victor Hugo, "Les Misérables"]
Some 20c. writers in English used extended form prudibundery, in many cases likely for contemptuous emphasis, from French prudibonderie "prudery."
prudish (adj.) Look up prudish at
1717, from prude (adj.) + -ish. Related: Prudishly; prudishness.
prune (n.) Look up prune at
mid-14c., "a plum," also "a dried plum" (c. 1200 in place name Prunhill), from Old French pronne "plum" (13c.), from Vulgar Latin *pruna, fem. singular formed from Latin pruna, neuter plural of prunum "a plum," by dissimilation from Greek proumnon, from a language of Asia Minor. Slang meaning "disagreeable or disliked person" is from 1895. Prune juice is from 1807.
prune (v.) Look up prune at
early 15c., prouyne, from Old French proignier "cut back (vines), prune" (Modern French provigner), of unknown origin. Perhaps [Watkins] from Gallo-Roman *pro-retundiare "cut in a rounded shape in front," from pro "forth" (see pro-) + *retundiare "round off," from Latin rotundus (see round (adj.)). Klein suggests the Old French word is from provain "layer of a vine," from Latin propago (see prop (n.1)).

Or the Middle English word might be identical with the falconry term proinen, proynen "trim the feather with the beak" (late 14c.), source of preen [Barnhart]. Related: Pruned; pruning. Pruning hook is from 1610s; pruning knife from 1580s.
prunella (n.) Look up prunella at
stout textile used for men's robes and gowns, 1650s, from French prunelle, noun use of adjective meaning "plum-colored," from prunelle, diminutive of prune "plum" (see prune (n.)).
prurience (n.) Look up prurience at
1680s, from prurient + -ence. Related: Pruriency (1660s).
prurient (adj.) Look up prurient at
1630s, "itching," later, and now exclusively, "having an itching desire" (1650s), especially "lascivious, lewd," (1746), from Latin prurientem (nominative pruriens), present participle of prurire "to itch; to long for, be wanton," perhaps related to pruna "glowing coals," from PIE root *preus- "to freeze; burn" (see freeze (v.)). Related: Pruriently.
pruritus (n.) Look up pruritus at
"itching of the skin without visible eruption" [Klein], 1650s, from Latin pruritus, past participle of prurire "to itch" (see prurient). Earlier via Old French in form prurite (early 15c.). Related: Pruritic.
prushun (n.) Look up prushun at
1893, "boy who travels with a tramp and begs for him," of unknown origin; his protector/owner was a jocker.
Prussia (n.) Look up Prussia at
from Medieval Latin Borussi, Prusi, Latinized forms of the native name of the Lithuanian people who lived in the bend of the Baltic before being conquered 12c. and exterminated by (mostly) German crusaders who replaced them as the inhabitants. Perhaps from Slavic *Po-Rus "(The Land) Near the Rusi" (Russians). The duchy of Prussia after union with the Mark of Brandenberg, became the core of the Prussian monarchy and later the chief state in the German Empire.
Prussian Look up Prussian at
1550s (n.), 1560s (adj.), from Prussia + -an. Prussian blue pigment (1724) came to English from French bleu de Prusse, so called for being discovered in Berlin, the Prussian capital.
All in all, it seems that Prussian blue was synthesised for the first time around 1706 by the Swiss immigrant Johann Jacob Diesbach in Berlin. [Jens Bartoll and Bärbel Jackisch, "Prussian Blue: A Chronology of the Early Years," "Zeitschrift für Kunsttechnologie und Konservierung" 24, No. 1, 2010]
Early German sources refer to it as Preußisches Ultra-Marin and berliner blau. Prussic acid (1790), is from French acide prussique, so called in reference to prussian blue pigment, to which it is chemically related.
pry (v.1) Look up pry at
"look inquisitively," c. 1300, from prien "to peer in," of unknown origin, perhaps related to late Old English bepriwan "to wink." Related: Pried; prying. As a noun, "act of prying," from 1750; meaning "inquisitive person" is from 1845.
pry (v.2) Look up pry at
"raise by force," 1823, from a noun meaning "instrument for prying, crowbar;" alteration of prize (as though it were a plural) in obsolete sense of "lever" (c. 1300), from Old French prise "a taking hold, grasp" (see prize (n.2)).
psalm (n.) Look up psalm at
Old English psealm, salm, partly from Old French psaume, saume, partly from Church Latin psalmus, from Greek psalmos "song sung to a harp," originally "performance on stringed instrument; a plucking of the harp" (compare psaltes "harper"), from psallein "play on a stringed instrument, pull, twitch" (see feel (v.)).

Used in Septuagint for Hebrew mizmor "song," especially the sort sung by David to the harp. Related: Psalmodize; psalmody. After some hesitation, the pedantic ps- spelling prevailed in English, as it was in many neighboring languages (German, French, etc.), but English is almost alone in not pronouncing the p-.
psalmist (n.) Look up psalmist at
late 15c. (replacing psalmistre, late 14c.), from Middle French psalmiste and directly from Church Latin psalmista, from Ecclesiastical Greek psalmistes, from psalmizein "to sing psalms," from psalmos (see psalm).
psalter (n.) Look up psalter at
"the Book of Psalms," Old English saltere, psaltere, from Church Latin psalterium "the songs of David," in secular Latin, "stringed instrument played by twanging," from Greek psalterion "stringed instrument, psaltery, harp," from psallein "to pluck, play on a stringed instrument" (see psalm).
psaltery (n.) Look up psaltery at
"ancient stringed instrument," c. 1300, from Old French psalterie (12c.), from Latin psalterium "stringed instrument," from Greek psalterion "stringed instrument," from psallein "play on a stringed instrument, pull, pluck" (see psalm).
psammo- Look up psammo- at
word-forming element meaning "sand," from Greek psammos "sand," related to psamathos (see sand (n.)). Related: Psammic; psammite.
psephocracy (n.) Look up psephocracy at
"government formed by election by ballot," from Greek psephizein "to vote" (properly "to vote with pebbles," from psephos "pebble") + -cracy "rule or government by."
psephology (n.) Look up psephology at
"study of elections," 1952, from Greek psephizein "to vote" (properly "to vote with pebbles," from psephos "pebble") + -logy.
psephomancy (n.) Look up psephomancy at
"divination by pebbles drawn from a heap," 1727, from Greek psephos "pebble" + -mancy.
pseudepigraphy (n.) Look up pseudepigraphy at
"ascription of false authorship to a book," 1842, probably via German or French, from pseudo- + epigraph + -y (1). Related: Pseudepigrapha; pseudepigraphic (1830); pseudepigraphical (1838); pseudepigraphal (1630s).
pseudo (n.) Look up pseudo at
late 14c., "false or spurious thing;" see pseudo-. As an adjective in this sense from mid-15c. In modern use, of persons, "pretentious, insincere," from 1945; as a noun from 1959. Related: Pseudish.
pseudo- Look up pseudo- at
often before vowels pseud-, word-forming element meaning "false; feigned; erroneous; in appearance only; resembling," from Greek pseudo-, comb. form of pseudes "false, lying; falsely; deceived," or pseudos "falsehood, untruth, a lie," both from pseudein "to deceive, cheat by lies."

Productive in compound formation in ancient Greek (such as pseudodidaskalos "false teacher," pseudokyon "a sham cynic," pseudologia "a false speech," pseudoparthenos "pretended virgin"), it began to be used with native words in Middle English.
pseudo-science (n.) Look up pseudo-science at
also pseudoscience, "a pretended or mistaken science," 1796 (the earliest reference is to alchemy), from pseudo- + science.
The term pseudo-science is hybrid, and therefore objectionable. Pseudognosy would be better etymology, but the unlearned might be apt to association with it the idea of a dog's nose, and thus, instead of taking "the eel of science by the tail," take the cur of science by the snout; so that all things considered we had better adopt the current term pseudo-sciences ["The Pseudo-Sciences," in "The St. James Magazine," January 1842]
pseudo-scientific (adj.) Look up pseudo-scientific at
also pseudoscientific, 1816; see pseudo- + scientific; also compare pseudo-science.
pseudocide (n.) Look up pseudocide at
"pretended suicide attempt," 1959, from pseudo- + ending abstracted from suicide.
pseudograph (n.) Look up pseudograph at
"writing falsely ascribed to someone," 1828 (in German from 1809), from Late Latin pseudographus, from Greek pseudographos "writer of falsehoods," from pseudo- (see pseudo-) + graphos "(something) drawn or written" (see -graphy). Pseudography was in English from 1570s with a sense "misspelling."
pseudomorph (n.) Look up pseudomorph at
"irregular form," 1838, earlier in German and French, from pseudo- + Greek morphe "form" (see Morpheus). Related: Pseudomorphic.
pseudonym (n.) Look up pseudonym at
1828, in part a back-formation from pseudonymous, in part from German pseudonym and French pseudonyme (adj.), from Greek pseudonymos "having a false name, under a false name," from pseudes "false" (see pseudo-) + onyma, Aeolic dialectal variant of onoma "name" (see name (n.)).

"Possibly a dictionary word" at first [Barnhart]. Fowler calls it "a queer out-of-the-way term for an everyday thing." Properly in reference to made-up names; the name of an actual author or person of reputation affixed to a work he or she did not write is an allonym. An author's actual name affixed to his or her own work is an autonym (1867).
pseudonymous (adj.) Look up pseudonymous at
1766, from Modern Latin pseudonymus, from Greek pseudonymos (see pseudonym). Related: Pseudonymously.
pseudopod (n.) Look up pseudopod at
1862, from Modern Latin pseudopodium (itself in English from 1854), from pseudo-) + Latinized form of Greek podion, diminutive of pous "foot" (from PIE root *ped- "foot"). Related: Pseudopodal.
pshaw (interj.) Look up pshaw at
exclamation of contempt or rejection, by 1670s.
psi (n.) Look up psi at
23rd letter of the Greek alphabet. Use for "psychic force, paranormal phenomenon" dates from 1942 (probably from psychic (adj.)).
psilanthropism (n.) Look up psilanthropism at
"the teaching that Jesus was entirely human," 1817 (Coleridge; "Biographia Literaria"), from Greek psilanthropos "merely human," from psilos "naked, bare, mere" (see psilo-) + anthropos "man" (see anthropo-). Related: Psilanthropy; psilanthropic; psilanthropist.
psilo- Look up psilo- at
before vowels psil-, word-forming element meaning "stripped, bare," from Greek psilos "bare, naked; mere," perhaps akin to psen "to rub," and both or either perhaps from PIE root *bhes- "to rub" (source also of Greek psamathos "sand;" see sand (n.)).