prick

1) To hang up greenery as a decoration, presumably securing it with pins or something similar.

Tolson noted Pricking the Church with Green at Christmas in the churchwardens’ accounts for Kirkheaton. He gave no date but subsequently quoted: 1822 The Church Pricking. Similarly, there was Church pricking or decorating with evergreens at Brodsworth in 1784.

dates 1822

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2) To select or name, that is to choose a person, perhaps by ‘pricking’ his name on a list, ticking it off.

1754 my neighbour Mr Melladew, the bearer, is pricked on for Chief Constable by the name of William Melladew but his Christian name is John, West Riding.

places West Riding
dates 1754

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3) To urge on or incite.

In 1482, defending an action of his questioned by the mayor and council, John Brompton ... said that he was not prickyd by no person so for to doo: his companions claimed they were not mewyd nor intysed, York. More literally it could mean to spur on a horse and in this sense gave rise to several by-names: 1259 Peter Prikehest, Tholthorpe

1286 John Prykmare, Hipperholme

1327 Nicholas Prikhors, Shipton

1377-8 John Prichors, Bolton Priory. In one undated example the meaning seems more likely to be ‘goad’: n.d. Henry Prikestirke, Elland. In turn these were responsible for minor place-names: n.d. Prikestirkrode

1435 Prikmeyrebank.

dates 1259 1286 1327 1377-1378 1435 1482

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4) A metal or wooden skewer.

1562 One brulinge iron viijd. One paire of pryckes iiijd, Richmond. As a verb it was to secure with a skewer: 1671 Simeon Crosley ... had a parcel of wooll stollen out of his barne ... his servants saw her [Sarah Carter] have her apron prickt full of wooll, Sowerby.

places Richmond Sowerby
dates 1562 1671

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Photo by Kreuzschnabel CC BY-SA 3.0