• synonyms


See more synonyms for prune on Thesaurus.com
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).
Show More

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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

scissors, pruner

Examples from the Web for pruner

Historical Examples

  • The height of the trunk usually depends on the whims of the pruner.

    The Pears of New York

    U. P. Hedrick

  • The pruner should not only know why he prunes, but how the work should be done.

  • Pruner of coconut trees, sir, and servant of my mother-in-law.

  • The pruner should leave enough spurs to supply all the fruit buds that the vine can utilize.

  • The pruner has used two of the strongest canes to form two three-bud spurs and three of medium vigor to form three two-bud spurs.

British Dictionary definitions for pruner


  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
Show More

Word Origin

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


  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)
Show More
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


  1. an archaic word for preen 1
Show More
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 pruner



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.

Show More



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.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with pruner


see full of beans, def. 2.

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