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Preen   Listen
Preen  v. t.  (past & past part. preened; pres. part. preening)  
To dress with, or as with, a preen; to trim or dress with the beak, as the feathers; said of birds.
To trim up, as trees. (Prov. Eng.)
Hence: To dress (oneself) carefully or stylishly; to primp.
To pride (oneself) on one's accomplishments; to congratulate (oneself).

Collaborative International Dictionary of English 0.48

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"Preen" Quotes from Famous Books

... were sign'd—and kiss'd the kiss: And the Bride, who came from her coach a Miss, As a Countess walk'd to her carriage— Whilst Hymen preen'd his plumes like a dove, And Cupid flutter'd his wings above, In the shape of a fly—as little a Love As ever look'd in at ...
— The Poetical Works of Thomas Hood • Thomas Hood

... gleaming emerald, now its shoulders a glistening amethyst, then darting beneath the water, and rising instantly, throw off a shower of spray from its quivering wings, and fly up to an overhanging bough and commence to preen its feathers. All humming-birds bathe on the wing, and generally take three or four dips, hovering, between times, about three inches ...
— The Naturalist in Nicaragua • Thomas Belt

... to the bagpipes in the woods. Children who contrive to be beautiful and contented,—that intoxicates me. I would like greatly to get married, if any one would have me. It is impossible to imagine that God could have made us for anything but this: to idolize, to coo, to preen ourselves, to be dove-like, to be dainty, to bill and coo our loves from morn to night, to gaze at one's image in one's little wife, to be proud, to be triumphant, to plume oneself; that is the aim of life. There, let not that displease you which we used to think in our day, when ...
— Les Miserables - Complete in Five Volumes • Victor Hugo

... the flowers myself," said he. "I don't think they care to have others touch them, any more than a cow likes to be milked by a stranger. Of course they feel the difference! Why, they know when I praise them, and preen themselves. They curl up when they're scolded, or not noticed, just as I do when people aren't nice to me. Every day I send off a box of my best roses to Tlemcen. She allows me ...
— The Golden Silence • C. N. Williamson and A. M. Williamson

... should be above such nonsense, and that as an officer he ought to set the men a better example. He shook his weatherbeaten head ominously, but answered with characteristic caution, "Mebbe aye, mebbe na, Doctor," he said; "I didna ca' it a ghaist. I canna' say I preen my faith in sea-bogles an' the like, though there's a mony as claims to ha' seen a' that and waur. I'm no easy feared, but maybe your ain bluid would run a bit cauld, mun, if instead o' speerin' aboot it ...
— The Captain of the Pole-Star and Other Tales • Arthur Conan Doyle

... that you shall adore me, pretty face, pretty figure, pretty ways and all." Nor yet to herself did she put things so baldly. She did, however, yield herself luxuriously to the springtime, the romance of the hour, the appeal of her latest cavalier, and preen herself like a mating bird. King saw, admired, and in his own fashion played his own part. It was not clear to him that there had been a new pleasure in his own strength when he had lifted her into her saddle, and yet her little ...
— The Everlasting Whisper • Jackson Gregory

... tranquil; apparently the people accepted the Wall Street theory that I was an "exploded sensation." "The Seven" began to preen themselves; the strain upon them to maintain prices, if no less than for three months past, was not notably greater; the crisis would pass, I and my exposures would be forgotten, the routine of reaping the harvests and leaving only ...
— The Deluge • David Graham Phillips

... turning her bright eyes critically this way and that, she listens to every new sound and regards every object of sight! She must chirp and sing, and hop from place to place, and eat and drink, and preen her wings, and do at least a dozen different things every minute; and her time is so fully taken up that the narrow limits confining her are almost forgotten—the wires that separate her from the great world of wind-tossed woods, and of blue ...
— Birds in Town and Village • W. H. Hudson

... of Spartan boys, they are not in it! A woman will endure martyrdom with the expression of a seraph,—an extremely aggravating seraph. She looks after her soul as if it were the ultimate fact of the universe. She will trim and preen that ridiculous soul, though the heavens fall and the rest of ...
— The Daughters of Danaus • Mona Caird

... most in young birds," said another elderly hen, "is their appearance. Some of them do nothing all day but preen their feathers. Look at the over-studied arrangements of their wing flights, and the affected exactness of their tall feathers! One looks in vain for sweetness and simplicity in ...
— Dot and the Kangaroo • Ethel C. Pedley

... prey. It seems certain that it is by sight, not by smell, that the eagles gather to the carcass; but perhaps there is more smell in birds than they are usually credited with. One would like to experiment with the oil from the preen gland of birds to see whether the scent of this does not help in the recognition of kin by kin at night or amid the darkness of the forest. There may be other senses in birds, such as a sense of temperature and a sense of balance; ...
— The Outline of Science, Vol. 1 (of 4) - A Plain Story Simply Told • J. Arthur Thomson

... expanse of waters, and perfectly secure from fowlers, lie all day long, in the winter season, vast flocks of ducks, teals, and widgeons, of various denominations; where they preen and solace, and rest themselves, till towards sunset, when they issue forth in little parties (for in their natural state they are all birds of the night) to feed in the brooks and meadows; returning again with the dawn of the morning. Had this lake ...
— The Natural History of Selborne • Gilbert White

... appearance made by some of our seagoing chorus girls when they attempt to assume the light and airy graces of the real article. Some of the men have so deeply entered into their parts that they have attained absolute self-forgetfulness, with the result that they leap and preen about in a manner quite startling to the dispassionate spectator. My career so far has not been a personal triumph. In the middle of a number, the other night, the dancing master clapped his hands violently together, a signal he uses when he wants ...
— Biltmore Oswald - The Diary of a Hapless Recruit • J. Thorne Smith, Jr.

... them for the April showers to pelt and play with; and now, when the redwoods on the mountainsides were singing that May was almost here, a whole slope of poppies lingered rebelliously to nod and peer and preen over the delights of the valley just below. The lupines were shaking their blue heads distressfully at the impertinence; and then here came the vaqueros galloping, and even the lupines and poppies forgot their dispute in the excitement of ...
— The Gringos • B. M. Bower

... fancied terrors were soon to be blotted out in the great Fear—that which is in the hearts of all men; that Fear which Wisdom does in vain preen itself ...
— Jean-Christophe, Vol. I • Romain Rolland

Words linked to "Preen" :   gloat, dress, preen gland, triumph, rig out, arrange, dress up, prink, trick out, primp, deck out, get dressed, overdress, gussy up, trick up, set up, fig out, fancy up, tog out, congratulate, clean

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