1 [proon]

1300–50; late Middle English < Middle French < Latin prūna, plural (taken as feminine singular) of prūnum plum < Greek proû(m)non plum1 Unabridged


2 [proon]
verb (used with object), pruned, pruning.
to cut or lop off (twigs, branches, or roots).
to cut or lop superfluous or undesired twigs, branches, or roots from; trim.
to rid or clear of (anything superfluous or undesirable).
to remove (anything considered superfluous or undesirable).

1400–50; late Middle English prouynen < Middle French proognier to prune (vines), variant of provigner, derivative of provain scion (< Latin propāgin-, stem of propāgō; see propagate)

prunable, adjective
prunability, noun
pruner, noun
unprunable, adjective


3 [proon]
verb (used with object), pruned, pruning.
Archaic. to preen.

1350–1400; Middle English prunen, pruynen, proy(g)nen < Old French poroign-, present stem of poroindre, equivalent to por- (< Latin pro- pro-1) + oindre to anoint (< Latin unguere); see preen1

prunable, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
prune1 (pruːn)
1.  a purplish-black partially dried fruit of any of several varieties of plum tree
2.  slang chiefly (Brit) a dull, uninteresting, or foolish person
[C14: from Old French prune, from Latin prūnum plum, from Greek prounon]

prune2 (pruːn)
1.  to remove (dead or superfluous twigs, branches, etc) from (a tree, shrub, etc), esp by cutting off
2.  to remove (anything undesirable or superfluous) from (a book, etc)
[C15: from Old French proignier to clip, probably from provigner to prune vines, from provain layer (of a plant), from Latin propāgo a cutting]

prune3 (pruːn)
an archaic word for preen

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Cite This Source's 21st Century Lexicon
Main Entry:  prune
Part of Speech:  n
Definition:  See dried plum's 21st Century Lexicon
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Word Origin & History

1345, from O.Fr. pronne "plum" (13c.), from V.L. *pruna, fem. sing. formed from L. pruna, neut. pl. of prunum "plum," by dissimilation from Gk. proumnon, from a language of Asia Minor. Slang meaning "disagreeable or disliked person" is from 1895.

early 15c., prouyne, from O.Fr. proignier "cut back (vines), prune," of unknown origin, perhaps from Gallo-Romance *pro-retundiare "cut in a rounded shape in front," from pro- "forth" + *retundiare "round off," from L. rotundus (see round). The M.E. word may be via falconry
term proinen "trim the feather with the beak" (late 14c.), Related to preen (q.v.). Related: Pruned; pruning.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


see full of beans, def. 2.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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