prick / prik/ • v. [tr.] 1. make a small hole in (something) with a sharp point; pierce slightly: prick the potatoes with a fork. ∎ [intr.] feel a sensation as though a sharp point were sticking into one: she felt her scalp prick and her palms were damp. ∎ (of tears) cause the sensation of imminent weeping in (a person's eyes): tears of disappointment were pricking her eyelids. ∎ [intr.] (of a person's eyes) experience such a sensation. ∎ cause mental or emotional discomfort to: her conscience pricked her as she told the lie. ∎ arouse or provoke to action: the police were pricked into action.2. (usu. be pricked) (esp. of a horse or dog) make (the ears) stand erect when on the alert: the dog's tail was wagging and her ears were pricked.• n. 1. an act of piercing something with a fine, sharp point: the pin prick had produced a drop of blood. ∎ a small hole or mark made by piercing something with a fine, sharp point. ∎ a sharp pain caused by being pierced with a fine point. ∎ a sudden feeling of distress, anxiety, or some other unpleasant emotion: she felt a prick of resentment. ∎ archaic a goad for oxen.2. vulgar slang a penis. ∎ a man regarded as stupid, unpleasant, or contemptible.PHRASES: kick against the pricks hurt oneself by persisting in useless resistance or protest.prick up one's ears (esp. of a horse or dog) make the ears stand erect when on the alert. ∎ (of a person) become suddenly attentive: he pricked up his ears when he heard them talking about him.PHRASAL VERBS: prick something out (or off) transplant seedlings to a container or bed that provides adequate room for growth: he was in the garden pricking out marigolds.DERIVATIVES: prick·er n.prick·ing n.