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PRU-NIF'ER-OUS, a. [L. prunum, a plum, and fero, to bear.]

Bearing plums.


In gardening and agriculture, the lopping off the superfluous branches of trees, either for improving the trees or their fruit.

PRUN-ING, ppr.

Lopping off superfluous branches; trimming; clearing of what is superfluous.


An instrument used in pruning trees. It is of various forms. – Dryden. Philips.

PRU'RI-ENCE, or PRU'RI-EN-CY, n. [L. pruriens, prurio, to itch.]

An itching, longing desire or appetite for any thing. – Swift.


Itching; uneasy with desire. – Warton.

PRU-RIG'IN-OUS, a. [L. pruriginosus, from prurigo, an itching, from prurio, to itch.]

Tending to prurigo. – Greenhill.


A papular eruption of the skin, in which the papules are diffuse, nearly of the color of the cuticle, intolerably itchy, itching increased by sudden exposure to heat, when abraded by scratching oozing a fluid, that concretes into minute black scabs. An entirely different disease from the itch.

PRUSS-IAN, a. [from Prussia.]

Pertaining to Prussia. Prussian blue, a bi-salt composed of two equivalents of the sesquicyanid of iron, which performs the functions of an acid, with one equivalent of sesquoxyd of iron, which performs the functions of a base. This salt is of a beautiful deep blue, and is much used as a pigment. It is also use in medicine.


A name first applied to Prussian blue, a salt in which the sesquicyanid of iron performs the functions of an acid; but subsequently to numerous salts in which the protocyanid of iron is the acid. It has likewise been applied to various cyanids, as the cyanid of potassium, which has been called prussiate of potassa.


The term prussic acid is now applied too vaguely and variously to answer the purpose of science. It was first applied to the sesquicyanid of iron, which is the acid of Prussian blue. It was subsequently applied to the protocyanid of iron, which is the acid of the salt erroneously called prussiate of iron and potassa; to the cyanohydric acid, which, in all probability, forms no salts at all; to the hydroguret of benzyle, or the essential oil of bitter almonds, and laurel-cherry, which is not an acid, and of course form no salts; and to cyanogen which is not an acid, but a compound basifying and acidifying principle. Each of the above compounds is a valuable medicine.

PRY, n.

Narrow inspection; impertinent peeping. – Smart.

PRY, v.i. [a contracted word, the origin of which is not obvious.]

To peep narrowly; to inspect closely; to attempt to discover something with scrutinizing curiosity, whether impertinently or not; as, to pry into the mysteries of nature, or into the secrets of state. Nor need we with a prying eye survey / The distant skies to find the milky way. – Creech.

PRY, v.t.

To raise or attempt to raise with a lever. This is the common popular pronunciation of prize, in America. The lever used is also called a pry.

PRY'ING, ppr.

Inspecting closely; looking into with curiosity.

PRY'ING-LY, adv.

With close inspection or impertinent curiosity.

PRY-TA-NE'UM, n. [Gr.]

In Athens, a place where those who deserved well of their country were maintained by the public. – Elmes.

PRYT'A-NIS, n. [Gr. πρυτανις.]

In ancient Greece, a president of the senate of five hundred. – Encyc. Anacharsis. [It is to be noted that in words beginning with Ps and Pt, the letter p has no sound.]

PSALM, n. [sàm; L. psalmus; Gr. ψαλμος, from ψαλλω, to touch or beat, to sing; Fr. psaume; It. and Sp. salmo.]

A sacred song or hymn; a song composed on a divine subject and in praise of God. The most remarkable psalms are those composed by David and other Jewish saints, a collection of one hundred and fifty of which constitutes a canonical book of the Old Testament, called Psalms, or the Book of Psalms. The word is also applied to sacred songs composed by modern poets, being versifications of the Scriptural psalms, or of these with other parts of Scripture, composed for the use of churches; as, the Psalms of Tate and Brady, of Watts, &c.


  1. A writer or composer of sacred songs; a title particularly applied to David and the other authors of the Scriptural psalms.
  2. In the Church of Rome, a clerk, precentor, singer or leader of music in the church.


Relating to psalmody.


One who sings sacred songs.


The act, practice or art of singing sacred songs. Psalmody has always been considered an important part of public worship.

PSALM-OG'RA-PHER, or PSALM-OG'RA-PHIST, n. [See Psalmography.]

A writer of psalms or divine songs and hymns.

PSALM-OG'RA-PHY, n. [Gr. ψαλμος, psalm, and γραφω, to write.]

The act or practice of writing psalms or sacred songs and hymns.