printable (adj.) Look up printable at
1820 as "capable of being printed;" 1838 as "suitable to be published in print," from print (v.) + -able. Related: Printability.
printer (n.) Look up printer at
c. 1500, "person who prints books, etc.," agent noun from print (v.). As a mechanical device from 1859, originally in telegraphy. In the computer sense, from 1946. Printer's bible (c. 1702) so called from mistaken substitution of printers for princes in Psalms cxix.161, which led to the misreading:
Printers have persecuted me without a cause.
printing (adj.) Look up printing at
present participle adjective from print (v.). Printing press is from 1580s.
prion (n.) Look up prion at
petrel-like bird, 1848, from Greek prion "a saw," related to priein, prizein "to saw, to be cut in pieces." So called for its bill.
prior (adj.) Look up prior at
"earlier," 1714, from Latin prior "former, previous, first;" figuratively "superior, better;" as a noun "forefather; superior rank;" comparative of Old Latin pri "before," from PIE *prai-, *prei-, from root *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per).
prior (n.) Look up prior at
"superior officer of a religious house or order," late Old English, from Medieval Latin prior "superior officer," noun use of Latin adjective meaning "former, superior" (see prior (adj.)). As short for prior arrest, by 1990, American English.
prioress (n.) Look up prioress at
c. 1300, from Medieval Latin priorissa, from prior "head of a priory of men" (see prior (n.)).
prioritise (v.) Look up prioritise at
chiefly British English spelling of prioritize. For suffix, see -ize. Related: Prioritised; prioritising; prioritisation.
prioritization (n.) Look up prioritization at
1973, from prioritize + noun ending -ation.
prioritize (v.) Look up prioritize at
1972, apparently coined during the U.S. presidential contest that year, from root of priority + -ize. Related: Prioritized; prioritizing.
priority (n.) Look up priority at
late 14c., "state of being earlier," from Old French priorite (14c.), from Medieval Latin prioritatem (nominative prioritas) "fact or condition of being prior," from Latin prior (see prior (adj.)). From c. 1400 as "precedence in right or rank." Wyclif (early 15c.) renders prioritas into (Middle) English as furtherhead.
priory (n.) Look up priory at
late 13c., from Anglo-French priorie (mid-13c.), from Medieval Latin prioria "monastery governed by a prior," from Latin prior (see prior (n.)).
Priscian (n.) Look up Priscian at
Latin Priscianus, name of a celebrated Roman grammarian (c.500-530); hence to break Priscian's head (1520s) "to violate rules of grammar" (Latin diminuere Prisciani caput). See Priscilla.
Priscilla Look up Priscilla at
fem. proper name, from Latin, fem. of Priscillus, diminutive of Priscus, from priscus "antique, old-fashioned, old, ancient, primitive, venerable;" related to prior (see prior (adj.)).
prism (n.) Look up prism at
1560s, a type of solid figure, from Late Latin prisma, from Greek prisma (Euclid), literally "something sawed," from prizein "to saw" (see prion). Meaning in optics is first attested 1610s.
prismatic (adj.) Look up prismatic at
1709, from Greek prismat-, stem of prisma (see prism) + -ic. Related: Prismatical (1650s).
prison (n.) Look up prison at
early 12c., from Old French prisoun "captivity, imprisonment; prison; prisoner, captive" (11c., Modern French prison), altered (by influence of pris "taken;" see prize (n.2)) from earlier preson, from Vulgar Latin *presionem, from Latin prensionem (nominative prensio), shortening of prehensionem (nominative *prehensio) "a taking," noun of action from past participle stem of prehendere "to take" (see prehensile). "Captivity," hence by extension "a place for captives," the main modern sense.
prison (v.) Look up prison at
"to imprison," early 14c., from prison (n.) or Old French prisoner (v.). Related: Prisoned; prisoning.
prisoner (n.) Look up prisoner at
"person in prison, captive person," late 14c. (earlier "a jailer," mid-13c., but this did not survive Middle English), from Old French prisonier "captive, hostage" (12c., Modern French prisonnier), from prisoun (see prison (n.)). Captives taken in war have been called prisoners since mid-14c.; phrase prisoner of war dates from 1670s (see also POW). Prisoner's dilemma attested from 1957.
priss (n.) Look up priss at
1914, Southern U.S., back-formation from prissy.
prissy (adj.) Look up prissy at
1895, probably Southern U.S. dialect, first attested in Joel Chandler Harris, perhaps an alteration of precise (q.v.), or a merger of prim and sissy [OED]. Related: Prissily; prissiness.
["]Then Mrs Blue Hen rumpled up her feathers and got mad with herself, and went to setting. I reckon that's what you call it. I've heard some call it 'setting' and others 'sitting.' Once, when I was courting, I spoke of a sitting hen, but the young lady said I was too prissy for anything."
"What is prissy?" asked Sweetest Susan.
Mr. Rabbit shut his eyes and scratched his ear. Then he shook his head slowly.
"It's nothing but a girl's word," remarked Mrs. Meadows by way of explanation. "It means that somebody's trying hard to show off."
"I reckon that's so," said Mr. Rabbit, opening his eyes. He appeared to be much relieved.
[Joel Chandler Harris, "Mr. Rabbit at Home"]
pristine (adj.) Look up pristine at
1530s, "pertaining to the earliest period, primitive, ancient," from Middle French pristin or directly from Latin pristinus "former, early, original," from Old Latin pri "before" (see prime (adj.)). Meaning "unspoiled, untouched, pure" is from 1899 (implied in a use of pristinely) but according to OED 2nd ed. print still regarded as ignorant "by many educated speakers."
prithee Look up prithee at
1570s, altered from phrase (I) pray thee (14c.; see pray).
prius (n.) Look up prius at
"that which takes precedence," noun use of Latin neuter of prior "former, earlier" (see prior (adj.)). The hybrid car (with a capital P- ) debuted in 1997 in Japan, 2001 in U.S. and Europe. Name supposedly chosen because the car is a predecessor of new types. Proper plural is said to be Priora, but that is for the adjective.
privacy (n.) Look up privacy at
1590s, "a private matter, a secret;" c. 1600 as "seclusion," from private (adj.) + -cy. Meaning "state of freedom from intrusion" is from 1814. Earlier was privatie (late 14c. as "secret, mystery;" c. 1400 as "a secret, secret deed; solitude, privacy"), from Old French privauté.
private (adj.) Look up private at
late 14c., "pertaining or belonging to oneself, not shared, individual; not open to the public;" of a religious rule, "not shared by Christians generally, distinctive; from Latin privatus "set apart, belonging to oneself (not to the state), peculiar, personal," used in contrast to publicus, communis; past participle of privare "to separate, deprive," from privus "one's own, individual," from PIE *prei-wo-, from PIE *prai-, *prei-, from root *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per).

Old English in this sense had syndrig. Private grew popular 17c. as an alternative to common (adj.), which had overtones of condescension. Of persons, "not holding public office," recorded from early 15c. In private "privily" is from 1580s. Related: Privately. Private school is from 1650s. Private parts "the pudenda" is from 1785. Private enterprise first recorded 1797; private property by 1680s; private sector is from 1948. Private eye "private detective" is recorded from 1938, American English.
private (n.) Look up private at
1590s, "private citizen," short for private person "individual not involved in government" (early 15c.), or from Latin privatus "man in private life," noun use of the adjective; 1781 in the military sense, short for Private soldier "one below the rank of a non-commissioned officer" (1570s), from private (adj.).
privateer (n.) Look up privateer at
1660s, "private man of war," from private (adj.), probably on model of volunteer, buccaneer.
privation (n.) Look up privation at
mid-14c., "action of depriving," from Old French privacion and directly from Latin privationem (nominative privatio) "a taking away," noun of action from past participle stem of privare "deprive" (see private (adj.)). Meaning "want of life's comforts or of some necessity" is attested from 1790.
privatisation (n.) Look up privatisation at
chiefly British English spelling of privatization. For spelling, see -ize.
privatise (v.) Look up privatise at
chiefly British English spelling of privatize (q.v.); for suffix, see -ize. Related: Privatised; privatisation.
privative (adj.) Look up privative at
1580s, "expressing negation" (as do the prefixes un-, a- (2), etc.), from Latin privativus "denoting privation, negative," from privatus, past participle of privare (see private).
privatization (n.) Look up privatization at
1944, in reference to German economic policies in the 1930s, from private (adj.) + -ization. Re-privatisation is attested by 1939.
privatize (v.) Look up privatize at
1966, back-formation from privatization (q.v.). Re-privatise is attested from 1942. Related: Privatized; privatizing.
privet (n.) Look up privet at
type of evergreen shrub, 1540s, of unknown origin. Early forms primet, primprint perhaps suggest some connection with prime [Klein].
privilege (v.) Look up privilege at
early 14c., privilegen, "to invest with a privilege," from privilege (n.) and from Old French privilegier (13c.), from Medieval Latin privilegare, from Latin privilegium. Related: Privileged; priviledging.
privilege (n.) Look up privilege at
mid-12c. "grant, commission" (recorded earlier in Old English, but as a Latin word), from Old French privilege "right, priority, privilege" (12c.) and directly from Latin privilegium "law applying to one person, bill of law in favor of or against an individual," in the post-Augustine period "an ordinance in favor of an individual, privilege, prerogative," from privus "individual" (see private (adj.)) + lex (genitive legis) "law" (see legal (adj.)). Meaning "advantage granted" is from mid-14c. in English.
privileged (adj.) Look up privileged at
late 14c. of things; mid-15c. of persons, past participle adjective from privilege (v.).
privity (n.) Look up privity at
early 13c., from Old French privité, priveté "privacy; a secret, private matter" (c. 1200), from prive "private," from Latin privus (see private (adj.)).
privy (adj.) Look up privy at
"private," early 13c., from Old French privé "friendly, intimate; a private place," from Latin privatus "private, personal" (see private (adj.)). Meaning "participating in (a secret)" (usually with to) is attested from late 14c. Related: Privily. Privy Council is from c. 1300 in a general sense; specifically of the British government, first attested late 14c., as consaile priue. Privy member "organ of sex" is from late 13c.
privy (n.) Look up privy at
"toilet," c. 1200, from Old French privé, privee "latrine," literally "private place," from noun use of adjective privé (see privy (adj.)).
prix fixe Look up prix fixe at
meal served at a fixed price, 1883, French, literally "fixed price" (see price (n.) and fix (v.)).
prize (n.1) Look up prize at
"reward," prise (c. 1300 in this sense), from Old French pris "price, value, worth; reward" (see price (n.)). As an adjective, "worthy of a prize," from 1803. The spelling with -z- is from late 16c. Prize-fighter is from 1703; prize-fight from 1730 (prize-fighter from 1785).
prize (n.2) Look up prize at
"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" (see prehensile). Especially of ships captured at sea (1510s). The spelling with -z- is from late 16c.
prize (v.) Look up prize at
"to estimate," 1580s, alteration of Middle English prisen "to prize, value" (late 14c.), from stem of Old French preisier "to praise" (see praise (v.)). Related: Prized; prizing.
prized (adj.) Look up prized at
"highly esteemed," 1530s, adjective from prize (n.1.), or from past participle of Middle English prisen "to prize, value" (late 14c.), from stem of Old French preisier "to praise" (see praise (v.)).
pro (n.1) Look up pro at
1866, shortening of professional (n.). The adjective is first recorded 1915 (in golfing's pro shop).
pro (n.2) Look up pro at
"a consideration or argument in favor," c. 1400, from Latin pro (see pro-). Pro and con is attested from c. 1400, short for pro and contra "for and against" (Latin pro et contra).
pro bono Look up pro bono at
short for Medieval Latin pro bono publico "for the public good;" see pro- + bene-.
pro forma Look up pro forma at
also proforma, Latin, literally "for form's sake, by way of formality;" see pro- + form (n.).