preen

noun
\ˈprēn \

Definition of preen 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 dialectal, chiefly British : pin

2 dialectal, chiefly British : brooch

preen

verb (1)
preened; preening; preens

Definition of preen (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

chiefly Scotland

: pin

preen

verb (2)
preened; preening; preens

Definition of preen (Entry 3 of 3)

transitive verb

1 of a bird : to groom with the bill especially by rearranging the barbs and barbules of the feathers and by distributing oil from the uropygial gland

2 : to dress or smooth (oneself) up : primp

3 : to pride or congratulate (oneself) on an achievement

intransitive verb

1 : to make oneself sleek

2 : to behave or speak with obvious pride or self-satisfaction

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from preen

Verb (2)

preener noun

Examples of preen in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Man Eating Food feels like a remnant of old YouTube, before creators learned to preen, polish, and grapple with YouTube’s impossible algorithm. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "YouTuber who eats disgusting food is everything good about the internet," 20 Nov. 2018 Political leaders preen and hashtag and hurl insults, and when real life intrudes on the food fights? Lara Backmender, Glamour, "The March for Our Lives Activists Who Said Never Again," 1 Nov. 2018 For nonactors, preening in front of a camera with directors calling out emotions to convey merely with facial expressions and gestures can be cringe inducing. Katherine Rosman, New York Times, "15 Minutes of Fame Is Too Much. Try 6 Seconds.," 12 Feb. 2018 While the boys of summer out-blast, out-quip and out-cool each other in desperate attempts to create and elaborate on their fictional legends, Ginsburg is proving that real-life legends need no posturing, preening or pyrotechnics to earn their cred. Ann Hornaday, chicagotribune.com, "Forget the capes. This hero wears a robe.," 17 May 2018 It was thought the peacock might have been preening in the shiny reflection of the vehicle. Carol Cormaci, latimes.com, "La Cañada History: Peacock’s attack on car infuriates local homeowners," 9 July 2018 Both Jordan and David are eager to preen for the cameras. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "The Bachelorette Season 14, Episode 5 Recap: Your Greatest Power," 26 June 2018 The other two characters, brought in later, are the coldly analytical Borsuk (Jared Abrahamson) and the preening jock Allen (Blake Jenner). David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Slick but Empty True Crime of American Animals," 1 June 2018 In Hetero Hawk Land, Lola is a nasal redhead who just wants to settle down and Pale Male is a preening alpha — well, male. Kerry Reid, chicagotribune.com, "'Birds of a Feather' is based on true story of same-sex penguin couple Roy and Silo," 11 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'preen.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of preen

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (1)

1572, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for preen

Noun

Middle English prene, from Old English prēon; akin to Middle High German pfrieme awl

Verb (2)

Middle English prenen, alteration of proynen, prunen, from Anglo-French puroindre, proindre, from pur- thoroughly + uindre, oindre to anoint, rub, from Latin unguere — more at purchase, ointment

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about preen

Listen to Our Podcast about preen

Statistics for preen

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for preen

The first known use of preen was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for preen

preen

verb
\ˈprēn \
preened; preening

Kids Definition of preen

1 : to smooth and clean with the bill The sparrow preened its feathers.

2 : to make a person's own appearance neat and tidy He preened himself in front of the mirror.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on preen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with preen

Spanish Central: Translation of preen

Nglish: Translation of preen for Spanish Speakers

Comments on preen

What made you want to look up preen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!