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prod (v.)

1530s, "to poke with a stick," of uncertain origin; possibly [Barnhart, Century Dictionary] a variant of brod, from Middle English brodden "to goad," from Old Norse broddr "shaft, spike" (see brad), or perhaps imitative [OED]. Figurative sense of "mental incitement or instigation" is by 1871. Related: Prodded; prodding.

prod (n.)

1787, "pointed or blunt-pointed instrument used in prodding;" 1802, "act of prodding;" from prod (v.). A provincial word; it also meant "long wooden pin used to secure thatch on a roof."

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Definitions of prod from WordNet
1
prod (v.)
to push against gently;
Synonyms: nudge / poke at
prod (v.)
urge on; cause to act;
Synonyms: incite / egg on
prod (v.)
poke or thrust abruptly;
Synonyms: jab / stab / poke / dig
2
prod (n.)
a verbalization that encourages you to attempt something;
the ceaseless prodding got on his nerves
Synonyms: goad / goading / prodding / urging / spur / spurring
prod (n.)
a pointed instrument that is used to prod into a state of motion;
Synonyms: goad
From wordnet.princeton.edu