prissy, prim

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HSS

Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
prissy, prim

The two words in the title, prissy and prim, sound similar in meaning to my ear, and in fact I've used them somewhat interchangeably. I reckon this is just about right. But is there anything I might have to be careful about them, I wonder? Both words are used to convey that you despise the woman or the girl because she is too fastidious. I believe we can use them interchangeably. Can we? I even hear 'prissy prim.'

prissy: fussily respectable; prim. (WR Dictionary); [COLOR=#0]If you say that someone is prissy, you are critical of them because they are very easily shocked by anything rude or bad.(Cobuild)[/COLOR]
prim: feeling or showing disapproval of anything improper; stiffly correct. (WR Dictionary); [COLOR=#0]If you describe someone as prim, you disapprove of them because they behave too correctly and are too easily shocked by anything rude. (Cobuild)[/COLOR]
 
  • Franco-filly

    Senior Member
    English - Southern England
    I don't think I've ever used the term prissy, but thefreedictionary gives the following definition: Excessively or affectedly prim and proper. This would suggest it has a stronger meaning.

    p.s. I think "despise" is too harsh a word!
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    In AE, "prissy" is definitely uncomplimentary.

    "Prim" is somewhat closer to neutral, not complimentary but necessarily critical either: "my grandmother is rather prim and proper" = I'd ask you not to use your usual crude language in her presence.
     

    Alisterio

    Senior Member
    UK English
    In AE, "prissy" is definitely uncomplimentary.

    "Prim" is somewhat closer to neutral, not complimentary but necessarily critical either: "my grandmother is rather prim and proper" = I'd ask you not to use your usual crude language in her presence.
    I would definitely agree with this. Someone who is prissy is annoyingly prim.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    So, it's more like prim < prissy in the order of disapproving; only prissy may not be used as widely as the other.

    Anyone heard of 'prissy prim'?

    Hiro
     

    MarcB

    Senior Member
    US English
    So, it's more like prim < prissy in the order of disapproving; only prissy may not be used as widely as the other.

    Anyone heard of 'prissy prim'?

    Hiro
    Hi Hiro, I 'm not sure if I understand your question here about order. I agree with the others who say prissy is negative and prim is neutral. So they differ in that negative vs neutral aspect, not sso much in frequence nor order.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Hi, Marc.

    Maybe I should have said "prissy and prim in the order of disapproving." Prissy is used in a negative sense whereas prim in a less negative sense, or in a neutral one.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    For me the difference is more one of behaviour than degree: prissy describes the way someone acts, their speech and mannerisms, a fussy/affected/(prim) way of behaving. Prim has more to do with 'inner moral quality'. I put prim in parentheses in my first sentence because, for me, prissiness doesn't necessarily contain primness: it's possible to be prissy without being prim.

    For example, a lot of gay men are extremely prissy 'on the outside' ... but very far from prim 'on the inside'. (I realize this might not be the world's most useful example ever:eek::D)
     
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