An example of preen is a bird cleaning its feathers.
An example of preen is a woman carefully plucking her eyebrows.
Origin of preen
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- From Middle English pren, from Old English prÄ“on, from Proto-Germanic *preunaz (compare Icelandic prjÃ³nn (“pin, knitting-needle"), Danish pryne "˜needle, eel-spear'), from Proto-Indo-European *brewn- (“protrusion, tip, edge") (compare Lithuanian briaunÃ "˜edge', Albanian brez "˜belt, girdle'). The verb is from Middle English prenen, from pren (“a preen").
- Variant of prune (by influence of preen above) Attested in Chaucer (c. 1395) in the variants preyneth, prayneth, proyneth, prunyht, pruneth.