- a variety of plum that dries without spoiling.
- such a plum when dried.
- any plum.
Origin of prune1
- 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).
Origin of prune2
- Archaic. to preen.
Origin of prune3
Examples from the Web for prunes
I owe no thanks to Mrs. Whitney, with her prunes and her prisms and her penny-pinchings.The Bacillus of Beauty
Then add the prunes one at a time, stirring the whole very hard.Directions for Cookery, in its Various Branches
Here and there were men to offer biscuits and handfuls of prunes.
Peaches, prunes, or any suitable fruit may be substituted for the apples.The Skilful Cook
Schinken, and sausage, and prunes—any little thing that happens to be about.The Captain of the Pole-Star and Other Tales
Arthur Conan Doyle
- a purplish-black partially dried fruit of any of several varieties of plum tree
- slang, mainly British a dull, uninteresting, or foolish person
- to remove (dead or superfluous twigs, branches, etc) from (a tree, shrub, etc), esp by cutting off
- to remove (anything undesirable or superfluous) from (a book, etc)
- an archaic word for preen 1
Word Origin and History for prunes
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.
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.
Idioms and Phrases with prunes
see full of beans, def. 2.