There are 2 definitions of prune in English:

prune1

Line breaks: prune
Pronunciation: /pruːn
 
/

noun

  • 1A plum preserved by drying and having a black, wrinkled appearance.
    More example sentences
    • However, just as raisins seem different from grapes, so do prunes appear to be distinct from plums.
    • Sneak some raisins or puréed prunes or zucchini into whole-wheat pancakes.
    • European plums have a thick, firm flesh that make excellent prunes, preserves, or desert fruit.
  • 2 informal An unpleasant or disagreeable person: he was a good leader, but a right miserable old prune
    More example sentences
    • Even pathetic old prunes have their moment in the glare of the gossip mags
    • McGregor has some good company: that miserable old prune Hugh Morgan (another complete AO) is also a distinguished fellow.
    • I had to put up with all these melodramatic old prunes (not just older people, but people of my own age as well) saying that my life was over, and oh, i would never be able to do my degree and get a good job, and oh, it is such a shame!

Origin

Middle English: from Old French, via Latin from Greek prou(m)non 'plum'.

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Word of the day grotesquerie
Pronunciation: grəʊˈtɛskəri
noun
grotesque quality or grotesque things collectively

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There are 2 definitions of prune in English:

prune2

Line breaks: prune
Pronunciation: /pruːn
 
/

verb

[with object]
  • 1Trim (a tree, shrub, or bush) by cutting away dead or overgrown branches or stems, especially to encourage growth: now is the time to prune roses [no object]: to limit growth, prune in summer
    More example sentences
    • Late February is an optimum time to prune trees and shrubs in your landscape.
    • When cleaning out the dead debris from flowerbeds, also prune any shrubs and push plants back into the soil that have heaved with the frosts.
    • I pruned the rose bushes and gave them a good soaking - it has been a dry winter.
    Synonyms
    cut back, trim, thin, thin out, pinch back, crop, clip, shear, pollard, top, dock; shape, even up, neaten, tidy (up)
  • 1.1Cut away (a branch or stem) from a tree, shrub, etc.: prune back the branches
    More example sentences
    • You may also need to prune back live branches that are getting out of control.
    • More compact plants result when long branches are pruned back to their junction at a lateral branch during early spring.
    • But if you prune back hard or after the tree leafs out in spring, it may be slower to come into bloom that year.
    Synonyms
    cut off, lop (off), chop off, hack off, clip, snip (off), nip off, dock, sever, detach, remove
  • 1.2Reduce the extent of (something) by removing superfluous or unwanted parts: the workforce was pruned
    More example sentences
    • So unless top-line targets are met, the cost base is pruned to compensate.
    • Acting quickly, Bern closed underperforming stores, pruned the work force, expanded product lines and revised the merchandising strategy.
    • The coalition will be working very hard over the next few months to prune expenditure to bring down this tax rise. The process has already started.
    Synonyms
    reduce, cut, cut back, cut down, cut back on, pare, pare down, slim down, make reductions in, make cutbacks in, trim, whittle away/down, salami-slice, decrease, diminish, axe, shrink, minimize; eliminate, get rid of, do away with
    informal slash
  • 1.3Remove (superfluous or unwanted parts) from something: Eliot deliberately pruned away details
    More example sentences
    • And several bright ideas scattered here and there that never quite worked have been pruned away.
    • Costs were cut, younger managers encouraged and deadwood pruned away with early retirement.

noun

[in singular] Back to top  
  • An instance of trimming a tree, shrub, or bush: they need little care other than an annual prune
    More example sentences
    • As the weather starts to warm and spring is just around the corner, roses, and shrubs may need a prune.
    • Unless he can find someone to lease them very soon he will give the trees a minimal prune and basic spray programme to grow apples for processing next season.
    • These are usually the more delicate plants such as Clematis viticella, which are best with an annual light prune followed by hard pruning every ten years.

Derivatives

pruner

noun
More example sentences
  • On shrubs with many crowded shoots, use loppers or hand pruners to cut about a third of the oldest shoots back to the ground at the right time of year for pruning a particular shrub.
  • If you just want to thin the growth, you can remove branches using your pruners or loppers by cutting the branch back to a fork.
  • For branches too large to be cut with a hand pruner or lopping shears, pruning saws must be used.

Origin

late 15th century (in the sense 'abbreviate'): from Old French pro(o)ignier, possibly based on Latin rotundus 'round'.

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