Etymology
Advertisement

prize (n.1)

"that which is obtained or offered as the reward of exertion or contest; reward or symbol of victory," spelling alteration of Middle English prise (c. 1300 in this sense), from Old French pris "price, value, worth; reward" (see price (n.)). Figuratively, "anything worth striving for," from c. 1600. As an adjective, "worthy of a prize," from 1803. The spelling with -z- is from late 16c. Prize-fighter is from 1703; prize-fight (one for a prize) from 1730.

prize (n.2)

"something taken by force," mid-13c., prise "a taking, holding," from Old French prise "a taking, seizing, holding," noun use of fem. past participle of prendre "to take, seize," from Latin prendere, contraction of prehendere "lay hold of, grasp, seize, catch" (from prae- "before," see pre-, + -hendere, from PIE root *ghend- "to seize, take").

Especially of a ship captured legally at sea (1510s). The spelling with -z- is from late 16c.

prize (v.1)

1580s, "to estimate the value of; value highly," spelling alteration of Middle English prisen "to reckon the worth of, value, esteem, praise" (late 14c.), from stem of Old French preisier "to praise" (see praise (v.)). Related: Prized; prizing.

prize (v.2)

"to force or press; force open by means of a lever," 1680s, from prize (n.) "the hold of a lever" (14c.), from Old French prise "a taking hold, a grasp" (see prize (n.2)). Related: Prized; prizing.

updated on November 18, 2020

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of prize from WordNet
1
prize (v.)
hold dear;
I prize these old photographs
Synonyms: value / treasure / appreciate
prize (v.)
to move or force, especially in an effort to get something open;
Synonyms: pry / prise / lever / jimmy
prize (v.)
regard highly; think much of;
We prize his creativity
Synonyms: respect / esteem / value / prise
2
prize (n.)
something given for victory or superiority in a contest or competition or for winning a lottery;
the prize was a free trip to Europe
Synonyms: award
prize (n.)
goods or money obtained illegally;
Synonyms: loot / booty / pillage / plunder / swag / dirty money
prize (n.)
something given as a token of victory;
Synonyms: trophy
3
prize (adj.)
of superior grade;
prize carnations
Synonyms: choice / prime / quality / select
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.