English has four words prize. The one meaning ‘reward’ [16] is essentially the same word as price. This was originally pris, mirroring its immediate Old French ancestor pris. It became prise, to indicate the length of its vowel i, and in the 16th century this differentiated into price for ‘amount to pay’ and prize for ‘reward’. (Modern French prix has given English grand prix [19], literally ‘great prize’, first used for a ‘car race’ in 1908.) Prize ‘esteem’ [14] was based on pris-, the stem of Old French preisier ‘praise’ (source of English praise). Prize ‘something captured in war’ [14] comes via Old French prise ‘capture, seizure, booty’ from Vulgar Latin *prēsa or *prēnsa ‘something seized’. This was a noun use of the past participle of *prēndere ‘seize’, a contraction of classical Latin praehendere (from which English gets prehensile, prison, etc). Another sense of Old French prise was ‘grasp’. English borrowed this in the 14th century as prize ‘lever’, which in due course was turned into modern English’s fourth prize, the verb prize, or prise, ‘lever’ [17]. Pry ‘lever’ [19] is an alteration of prize, based on the misapprehension that it is a third-person singular present form (*pries). => GRAND PRIX, PRICE; PRAISE; COMPREHENSIVE, PRISON, REPREHENSIBLE; PRY
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   A prize is literally something taken or captured, from Old French prize, 'capture.' The word is directly related to price, since something captured has a value or worth, which is its price. Even a prize in the modern sense, as an award, has a particular value or price, and the association between prizes and money is a close one.

The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins. 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • Prize — (pr[imac]z), n. [F. prise a seizing, hold, grasp, fr. pris, p. p. of prendre to take, L. prendere, prehendere; in some senses, as 2 (b), either from, or influenced by, F. prix price. See {Prison}, {Prehensile}, and cf. {Pry}, and also {Price}.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • prize — n 1: property (as a ship) lawfully captured in time of war 2: the wartime capture of a ship and its cargo at sea Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law. Merriam Webster. 1996 …   Law dictionary

  • prize — prize1 [prīz] vt. prized, prizing [ME pris: see PRICE] 1. Obs. to set a value upon; price 2. to value highly; esteem n. 1. something offered or given to the winner of a contest 2. something won in a game of cha …   English World dictionary

  • Prize — Prize, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Prized}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Prizing}.] [F. priser, OF. prisier, preisier, fr. L. pretiare, fr. pretium worth, value, price. See {Price}, and cf. {Praise}.] [Formerly written also {prise}. ] [1913 Webster] 1. To set or… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • prize — [adj] best award winning, champion, choice, cream*, elite, fat*, first class*, firstrate*, outstanding, pick, prime, top, topnotch, winning; concept 574 Ant. worst prize [n1] award, winnings accolade, acquirement, acquisition, advantage, blue… …   New thesaurus

  • prize — Ⅰ. prize [1] ► NOUN 1) a thing given as a reward to a winner or in recognition of an outstanding achievement. 2) something of great value that is worth struggling to achieve. ► ADJECTIVE 1) having been or likely to be awarded a prize. 2)… …   English terms dictionary

  • Prize — Prize, n. [F. prix price. See 3d {Prize}. ] Estimation; valuation. [Obs.] Shak. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Prize — Prize, v. t. To move with a lever; to force up or open; to pry. [Written also {prise}.] [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • prize# — prize n *premium, award, reward, meed, guerdon, bounty, bonus Analogous words: recompensing or recompense, compensation (see corresponding verbs at PAY): winning or winnings (see GET) Antonyms: forfeit prize vb value, treasure, cherish,… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • prize — n *spoil, booty, plunder, loot, swag …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • prize — see prise …   Modern English usage