preen

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English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English pren, from Old English prēon, from Proto-Germanic *preunaz (compare Icelandic prjónn (pin, knitting-needle), Danish pryne ‘needle, eel-spear’), from Proto-Indo-European *brewn- (protrusion, tip, edge) (compare Lithuanian briaunà ‘edge’, Albanian brez ‘belt, girdle’). The verb is from Middle English prenen, from pren (a preen).

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

preen (plural preens)

  1. A forked tool used by clothiers for dressing cloth.
  2. (dialectal) pin
  3. (dialectal) bodkin; brooch

Verb[edit]

preen (third-person singular simple present preens, present participle preening, simple past and past participle preened)

  1. (transitive) To pin; fasten.

Etymology 2[edit]

Variant of prune (by influence of preen above) Attested in Chaucer (c. 1395) in the variants preyneth, prayneth, proyneth, prunyht, pruneth.

Verb[edit]

preen (third-person singular simple present preens, present participle preening, simple past and past participle preened)

  1. (of birds) To groom; to trim or dress with the beak, as the feathers.
  2. To show off, posture, or smarm.
    • 1993, Scott Simmon, The Films of D W Griffith
      His preening self-satisfaction, chest thrown forward as he settles into a chair in his mansion...
    • 2004, Jude Deveraux, Counterfeit Lady
      He preened under her compliments.
  3. (UK, dialect, dated) To trim up, as trees.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Halliwell to this entry?)
Translations[edit]

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Anagrams[edit]