A Few Good Words: Prig

its synonyms and an illustrative painting

Yes, it rhymes with “pig.”

This is what I imagine prigs look like, as if they drank vinegar for breakfast.

Prigs, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary are self-righteously moralistic.


Synonyms are: fuddy-duddy, old maid, spoilsport, stuffed shirt, prude, puritan, bluenose, Mrs. Grundy, moralizer, Goody Two-shoes. These synonyms are more fun than those whom the word prig defines.

Also, a conceited, narrow-minded, dull person. Someone who criticizes the behavior of others. The word dates back to the 16th Century in the form of prigger or prigman. Over the centuries the meaning of the word has changed.

The paining is titled, “American Gothic,” painted by Grant Wood in 1930 and is now at the Art Institute of Chicago. I got the image from the stock agency, Pixabay.

I always thought the painting was of a farmer and his wife, but according to the Art Institute, the woman is the farmer’s daughter. Her priggish expression makes her look as old as he. The painting derives its title from the house, which is in a style called, Carpenter Gothic. Wood deliberately elongated the faces of the models to make the harmonize with the house. The models were Wood’s sister and his dentist. Yikes! I’d never go to a dentist with a face like that.

To learn more about the painting: https://www.artic.edu/artworks/6565/american-gothic

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