See also: Prissy



1895, either an alteration of precise, blend of prim +‎ sissy,[1] or a blend of prim +‎ fussy; first attested in American writer Joel Chandler Harris.[2]


  • IPA(key): /ˈpɹɪsi/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪsi


prissy (comparative prissier, superlative prissiest)

  1. Excessively prim, proper, particular or fussy.
    • 1949, Raymond Chandler, The Little Sister:
      She was a small, neat, rather prissy-looking girl with primly smooth brown hair and rimless glasses []
    • 22 March 2012, Scott Tobias, AV Club Cabin Boy[1]
      As Nathanial Mayweather, heir to the Mayweather Hotel fortune, Elliott doesn’t disdain the hoi polloi so much as he considers everyone, even the faculty and headmaster at the prissiest private school in existence, to be part of it.
    • 2014, John H. McWhorter, The Language Hoax:
      European languages like English are just prissier about getting that pronoun in there.
  2. (usually derogatory) Very feminine or dressy.
    • 1994, H W Wilson, Joni Richards Bodart, Booktalking the Award Winners - Volume 3, page 31:
      Mom was always pushing her only daughter to become some kind of prissy feminine beauty.
    • 2002, Eileen Wilks, The Loner and the Lady, page 179:
      A pink can held shaving gel with a prissy, feminine smell.
    • 2004, Tom Wolfe, I Am Charlotte Simmons: A Novel:
      Her clothes were not at all unusual or fashionable, a plain slate-blue dress and a magenta cardigan sweater with a somewhat prissy line of pearl buttons down the front.
    • 2012, Simon Doonan, Gay Men Don't Get Fat:
      A healthy trepidation about microbes, lice and the like is the key to a happy prissy lifestyle.
    • 2012, Sheldon Russell, Dreams to Dust:
      “Boots won't fit,” the man said, “and the hat's prissy.
    • 2014, Linda Grabeman, No Prissy Shoes:
      I love pretty shoes that are utterly gorgeous and totally impractical—what I call prissy shoes. [] I would love it if I could wear my prissy shoes for my whole life's journey — no stones on my path, no difficult cracks or crevices; just nice, smooth, straight highways of life.
    • 2015, David H. Brantley, Duct Tape Won’T Stick to a Leaky Ostomy Bag:
      I had grown up a rather prissy kind of guy. I was never the rough-and-tumble, plastic-gun-toting stereotype of a boy. I preferred neat and orderly and clean and bathed to scattered and strewn and grass-stained and smudged. Clothes pressed, shoes shined. Hair combed, activities quiet.
  3. Well-mannered, well-behaved.
    • 2007, Steven Levy, The Best of Technology Writing 2007, page 48:
      As women post en masse over the course of the day and long into the night, the mood changes: The daylight crowd tends to be prissier; the night crowd rowdier (and drunker); the late-night crowd surrealistic and unpredictable, made up of the extremely sleep deprived, from mothers of newborns to insomniacs in the midst of a divorce.
    • 2010, J. D. Robb, Visions In Death, page 19:
      You drive like one of those prissy ladies at lunch who won't take the last cookie in case somebody else wants it.
    • 2014, Lynne Barrett-Lee, One Day Someday:
      I may – I forget now – have suffixed it slightly; with a well-rounded 'Stuff you!' or 'But my car, you bastard!'. But then again, surely not. This was my boss, after all. More likely I would have said something more prissy, like 'Oh, really It may be only a car to you,' etc., before dissolving, which was what I actually did, into a flurry of impotent fury and tears.

Derived termsEdit



prissy (plural prissies)

  1. A person who is excessively prim, proper, particular or fussy.


  • prissy at OneLook Dictionary Search
  1. ^ prissy”, in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, 1996–present.
  2. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “prissy”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.