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prune2

[proon]
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verb (used with object), pruned, prun·ing.
  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 of prune2

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 formsprun·a·ble, adjectiveprun·a·bil·i·ty, nounprun·er, nounun·prun·a·ble, adjective

prune3

[proon]
verb (used with object), pruned, prun·ing.
  1. Archaic. to preen.

Origin of prune3

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 formsprun·a·ble, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for pruning

prune1

noun
  1. a purplish-black partially dried fruit of any of several varieties of plum tree
  2. slang, mainly British a dull, uninteresting, or foolish person

Word Origin

C14: from Old French prune, from Latin prūnum plum, from Greek prounon

prune2

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 Formsprunable, adjectivepruner, 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

verb
  1. an archaic word for preen 1
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

Word Origin and History for pruning

prune

n.

mid-14c., "a plum," also "a dried plum" (c.1200 in place name Prunhill), from Old French pronne "plum" (13c.), from Vulgar Latin *pruna, fem. singular formed from Latin pruna, neuter plural of prunum "a plum," by dissimilation from Greek proumnon, from a language of Asia Minor. Slang meaning "disagreeable or disliked person" is from 1895. Prune juice is from 1807.

prune

v.

early 15c., prouyne, from Old French proignier "cut back (vines), prune" (Modern French provigner), of unknown origin. Perhaps [Watkins] from Gallo-Romance *pro-retundiare "cut in a rounded shape in front," from pro- "forth" (see pro-) + *retundiare "round off," from Latin rotundus (see round (adj.)). Klein suggests the Old French word is from provain "layer of a vine," from Latin propago (cf. prop (n.1)).

Or the Middle English word might be identical with the falconry term proinen, proynen "trim the feather with the beak" (late 14c.), source of preen [Barnhart]. Related: Pruned; pruning. Pruning hook is from 1610s; pruning knife from 1580s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with pruning

prune

see full of beans, def. 2.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.