"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.
"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.
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.
"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.