follow Dictionary.com

Get the details behind our redesign

prune2

[proon] /prun/
verb (used with object), pruned, pruning.
1.
to cut or lop off (twigs, branches, or roots).
2.
to cut or lop superfluous or undesired twigs, branches, or roots from; trim.
3.
to rid or clear of (anything superfluous or undesirable).
4.
to remove (anything considered superfluous or undesirable).
Origin
late Middle English
1400-1450
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)
Related forms
prunable, adjective
prunability, noun
pruner, noun
unprunable, adjective

prune3

[proon] /prun/
verb (used with object), pruned, pruning.
1.
Archaic. to preen.
Origin
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
Related forms
prunable, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source
Examples for pruning
  • But pruning your ideas and simplifying your language don't have to eliminate the subtlety and significance of your thought.
  • We noticed changes in the traditional tree-pruning culture.
  • There is plenty of genetic evidence to support that mutations and novelty outpace the pruning of natural selection.
  • Even the pulp has no taste, and he sees the trees need pruning.
  • Indeed, evolution tends to push bacteria towards ever more compact genomes, mercilessly pruning away superfluous genes.
  • Also, plasticity is important, but the natural process of pruning is as well.
  • Finding and pruning out such redundancy automatically, he adds, can help technicians spend less time sorting through options.
  • He's remarkably averse to conflict, pruning the toxic people from his life.
  • Warren's publicist says the preacher was pruning the plant in his yard and accidentally rubbed some poisonous sap into his eyes.
  • Workshops cover topics such as grafting mangoes, identifying pests and natural predators for mangoes and mango pruning.
British Dictionary definitions for pruning

prune1

/pruːn/
noun
1.
a purplish-black partially dried fruit of any of several varieties of plum tree
2.
(slang, mainly Brit) a dull, uninteresting, or foolish person
Word Origin
C14: from Old French prune, from Latin prūnum plum, from Greek prounon

prune2

/pruːn/
verb
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)
Derived Forms
prunable, adjective
pruner, noun
Word Origin
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/
verb
1.
an archaic word for preen1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for pruning
prune
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.
prune
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
Cite This Source
Slang definitions & phrases for pruning

prune

noun
  1. A pedantic, stiff, and prudish person; prissy (1895+)
  2. A dehydrated nursing-home patient (1980s+ Medical)
verb

To accelerate faster than another car in a race (1940s+ Hot rodders)


The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with pruning
see: full of beans , def. 2.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Article for pruning

in horticulture, the removal or reduction of parts of a plant, tree, or vine that are not requisite to growth or production, are no longer visually pleasing, or are injurious to the health or development of the plant. Pruning is common practice in orchard and vineyard management for the improvement of flowering and fruiting. In home gardening (e.g., rose culture), pruning enhances plant shape and flowering potential; new growth emerges from the bud or buds immediately below the pruning cut. The once-common practice of cutting off a branch so that its base is flush with the limb is now recognized as inadvisable. Instead, the pruning cut should be made just above the collar, or swelling-essentially a protective callus-that surrounds the base of the branch. Ragged bark at the edge of the wound should be carefully trimmed. The application of pruning paint, or dressing, also a once-common practice, is unnecessary, but thin coasts may be applied for cosmetic reasons. Incorrect pruning can cause flower and fruit loss and leave the plant weak and vulnerable to disease or insect damage

Learn more about pruning with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source

Word of The Day

Difficulty index for prune

Many English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for pruning

10
15
Scrabble Words With Friends

Quotes with pruning