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, from Old French proignier (to trim the feathers with the beak).

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]