• WordNet 3.6
    • n pricking the act of puncturing with a small point "he gave the balloon a small prick"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Pricking A sensation of being pricked.
    • Pricking Dressing one's self for show; prinking.
    • Pricking (Far) Same as Nicking.
    • Pricking The act of piercing or puncturing with a sharp point. "There is that speaketh like the prickings of a sword."
    • Pricking (Far) The driving of a nail into a horse's foot so as to produce lameness.
    • Pricking The mark or trace left by a hare's foot; a prick; also, the act of tracing a hare by its footmarks.
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n pricking The act of piercing with a sharp point; a stinging or tingling sensation.
    • n pricking Specifically, in farriery: The act of driving a nail into a horse's foot with the result of causing lameness.
    • n pricking The making of an incision at the root of a horse's tail to cause him to carry it higher. See nick, transitive verb
    • n pricking Musical notation.
    • n pricking The prick or mark left by the foot of an animal, as a hare or deer; also, the act of tracking an animal by such marks.
    • n pricking The condition of becoming sour, as wine.
    • n pricking plural The slips of evergreens with which the churches are decorated from Christmas eve to the eve of Candlemas day. Halliwell.
    • n pricking Nautical, an English term referring to the propulsion of a punt in shallow water by means of a long pole thrust against the bottom. In America it is called punting, or poling.
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  • Walter Abish
    Walter Abish
    “America fears the unshaven legs, the unshaven men's cheeks, the aroma of perspiration, and the limp prick. Above all it fears the limp prick.”
  • Amy Lowell
    Amy Lowell
    “Even Pain pricks to livelier living.”
  • Napoleon Bonaparte
    “If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon-shots.”
  • William Shakespeare
    “If you prick us do we not bleed? If you tickle us do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die? And if you wrong us shall we not revenge?”
  • Pilpay
    “There is no gathering the rose without being pricked by the thorns.”


Never a rose without the prick - This means that good things always have something bad as well; like the thorns on the stem of a rose.
Prick up your ears - If you prick up your ears, you listen very carefully. ('Pick up your ears' is also used.)


In literature:

I had the satisfaction of pricking, not his conscience, for he had none, but his pride.
"Helmet of Navarre" by Bertha Runkle
To be absolutely accurate I must admit to having seen a man in a very 'prickly' state on one occasion.
"The Worst Journey in the World, Volumes 1 and 2" by Apsley Cherry-Garrard
No moral principles guided him, conscience never pricked.
"Children of the Mist" by Eden Phillpotts
Then the sight of the bent gray head, of the bowed shoulders, of the knotted needle-pricked fingers, pierced her heart.
"Life and Gabriella" by Ellen Glasgow
This Gurdun, pricking through the woods, came upon Gaston of Bearn, dazzling as a spring tree and singing like an inspired machine.
"The Life and Death of Richard Yea-and-Nay" by Maurice Hewlett
Every time that you are about to do any wrong action it will prick you.
"My Book of Favorite Fairy Tales" by Edric Vredenburg
Yet as he stood there, a head above the crowd, he seemed unconscious alike of Tignonville and the point that all but pricked his breast.
"Count Hannibal A Romance of the Court of France" by Stanley J. Weyman
If the land is not ready for planting, thin the seed-bed and prick out the seedlings.
"The Culture of Vegetables and Flowers From Seeds and Roots, 16th Edition" by Sutton and Sons
Who knows the Mediterranean, knows the prickly pear.
"Science in Arcady" by Grant Allen
Chance pricked his ears.
"Sundown Slim" by Henry Hubert Knibbs

In poetry:

Hark, I hear the bells of Westgate,
I will tell you what they sigh,
Where those minarets and steeples
Prick the open Thanet sky.
"Westgate-On-Sea" by Sir John Betjeman
But pricking thorns through all the ground,
And mortal poisons grow,
And all the rivers that are found
With dangerous waters flow.
"Hymn 53" by Isaac Watts
But Rome, while we so sparing be,
to rid our land of thee:
Both thornes in sides, and prickes in eyes,
to vs thou must needes bee.
"A description of olde Rome" by Roger Cotton
Delancy’s teeth broke o off quickly;
From th Billings took his t,
And then the h, albeit prickly,
Was shortly swallowed by McGee.
"Little Ballads Of Timely Warning; III:" by Ellis Parker Butler
A dreamy, cooling murmur went,
Like winds when spring is near,
Through all the trees, that stood intent,
And prick'd their leaves to hear.
"A Walk To Pamphy Linns" by Alexander Anderson
The second shoote Sir Guy shott,
He shotte within the garlande;
But Robin Hoode shott it better then hee,
For he clove the good pricke-wande.
"Robin Hood And Guy Of Gisborne" by Anonymous British

In news:

The prickly pear pad is edible as well, but best in spring.
Prickly pear harvest yields jelly and candy.
I've noticed the "pears" on our prickly pear cactus turning pink and seem to remember the fruit can be used to make jelly.
MOVIE REVIEW- No prickly pear : 'Hamlet 2' rivals 'Thunder' for hoots.
Where to Find the Prickly Pear .
The Many Uses of the Prickly Pear .
MOVIE REVIEW- No prickly pear: 'Hamlet 2' rivals 'Thunder' for hoots.
Where to Find the Prickly Pear.
The Many Uses of the Prickly Pear.
The Hamptons Prick Quotient .
I had wanted to print for you Pope Benedict XVI's thought-provoking and conscience-pricking message to Catholics for the start of Lent this year.
Students of Pusch Ridge Christian Academy are selling prickly pear jelly and syrup to help fund a student trip to the Grand Canyon.
Some North Dakota lawmakers are a bit prickly about spending state money on a conservatory for cactus.
(AP) — Some North Dakota lawmakers are a bit prickly about spending state money on a conservatory for cactus.
Vice presidential debate gets prickly on healthcare.

In science:

The rising of real incomes and the increasing in abundant of consumer goods have pricked demand for greater consumption on electronic gadgets in most modernized countries.
Grid Information Security Functional Requirement - Fulfilling Information Security of a Smart Grid System
Gamma-rays are notoriously hard to focus, so no sharp gamma-ray “images” exist to this day: they are just diffuse pin-pricks of gamma-ray light.
Gamma-Ray Bursts