A Word A Day : Preen

NEW YEAR : 2008

Wednesday, 2nd January 2008 : Today's Word is ...


( Verb )

( past and past participle : preened
present participle : preening
3rd person present singular : preens )

Pronunciation : pr-een

1. to clean, smooth, or arrange the feathers with the beak ( refers to birds )

2. to clean and smooth the fur by licking it ( refers to a furred mammal )

3. to spend a long or excessive time attending to personal appearance, especially making small finishing touches to the hair, the face, or clothes

4. to feel excessively self-satisfied and display that feeling by gloating

5. to be exultant or proud


15th century - Probably - Old French proignier - to prune


advertise, aggrandize, attract attention, blow, bluster, bullshit, bully, crow, exaggerate, exult, fake, flatter oneself, flaunt, flourish, gasconade, gloat, glory, grandstand, hug oneself, jive, prate, preen, psych, puff, shoot, shovel, show off, showboat, shuck, sling, sound off, strut, swagger, talk big, triumph, vapor


be modest, downplay, eat humble pie

Contextual Examples:

• The king preened himself in his elaborate ceremonial robes.

• The peacock preened itself on the lawn.

• He preened himself on having been graduated with honors.

• No amount of careful preening will compensate for poor posture.

• I watched the heron preen its feathers as it stood in the pond.

Related Words:

preening: Noun

preener: Noun

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