from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The partially dried fruit of any of several varieties of the common plum, Prunus domestica.
  • n. Any kind of plum that can be dried without spoiling.
  • n. Slang An ill-tempered, stupid, or incompetent person.
  • intransitive v. Slang To make a facial expression exhibiting ill temper or disgust: "Their faces prune at the slightest provocation” ( James Wolcott).
  • transitive v. To cut off or remove dead or living parts or branches of (a plant, for example) to improve shape or growth.
  • transitive v. To remove or cut out as superfluous.
  • transitive v. To reduce: prune a budget.
  • intransitive v. To remove what is superfluous or undesirable.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A plum.
  • n. The dried, wrinkled fruit of certain species of plum.
  • n. An old woman, especially a wrinkly one.
  • v. To remove excess material from a tree or shrub; to trim, especially to make more healthy or productive.
  • v. To cut down or shorten (by the removal of unnecessary material); as, to prune a budget.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A plum; esp., a dried plum, used in cookery
  • intransitive v. To dress; to prink; -used humorously or in contempt.
  • transitive v. To lop or cut off the superfluous parts, branches, or shoots of; to clear of useless material; to shape or smooth by trimming; to trim: as, to prune trees; to prune an essay.
  • transitive v. To cut off or cut out, as useless parts.
  • transitive v. To preen; to prepare; to dress.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To lop superfluous twigs or branches from (a vine, bush, or tree); trim with a knife.
  • To lop off as superfluous or injurious; remove by cutting.
  • To clear from anything superfluous: remove what is superfluous or objectionable from.
  • To dress or trim, as birds their feathers; preen: also used figuratively.
  • To lop off superfluous twigs or branches, as from a vine, bush, or tree.
  • To arrange or dress the feathers with the bill: said of birds, and also used figuratively.
  • n. A plum; in recent usage (especially in the western United States), a plum-suitable to be dried as a prune.
  • n. The dried fruit of one of several varieties of the common plum-tree.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. dried plum
  • v. weed out unwanted or unnecessary things
  • v. cultivate, tend, and cut back the growth of


Middle English, from Old French, from Vulgar Latin *prūna, from Latin prūnum, plum.
Middle English prouinen, from Old French proignier, perhaps from Vulgar Latin *prōretundiāre : Latin prō-, in front; see pro-1 + Latin rotundus, round (from rota, wheel; see ret- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French prune, from Latin prūnum, from Ancient Greek προῦνον (prounon), variant of προῦμνον (proumnon, "plum"). (Wiktionary)
From Old French proignier ("to trim the feathers with the beak"), earlier prooignier, ultimately from Latin pro- ("front") + rotundus ("round") 'to round-off the front'. (Wiktionary)



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