Grammar Monster
Grammar Monster

Prise or Prize?

The Quick Answer
What is the difference between prise and prize?

If you're American, you can ignore prise.

Prise (British English) means to use force to move or open something. (In American English, it is spelled prize.)
  • I used my hands to prise the dog's mouth open. () ()
A prize is a reward given in recognition of an achievement. As a verb, it means to greatly appreciate something.
  • The first prize in the competition was a week's holiday in California.
  • (Here, prize is a noun.)
  • The virtue I prize above all others is curiosity.(A S Byatt)
  • (Here, prize is a verb.)

Prise or Prize?

Americans do not use the word prise. In British English, however, the words prise and prize have very different meanings, even though they sound identical (i.e., they are homonyms).

Prise

The verb to prise means to use force to move something, move something apart, or open something. Prise can also means to use effort or force to obtain information from somebody. Confusion arises because the spelling prise only exists in British English. In American English, the spelling is prize.

Examples:
  • Together, we prised the information out of her. () ()
  • Most people used pliers, scissors, rubber gloves, and knives to try to prise open products. () ()

Prize

The noun prize refers to a reward given in recognition of an achievement. When prize is used as a verb, it means to highly value something or someone.

Examples:
  • The worth of a prize depends on the people who have received it before you. (Antonio Munoz Molina)
  • Journalists prize independence not teamwork. (Ken Auletta)
  • (Here, the word prize is a verb.)
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