AskDefine | Define preen

Dictionary Definition



1 clean with one's bill; "The birds preened" [syn: plume]
2 pride or congratulate (oneself) for an achievement [syn: congratulate]
3 dress or groom with elaborate care; "She likes to dress when going to the opera" [syn: primp, plume, dress]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. To groom; to trim or dress with the beak, as the feathers; -- said of birds.


To groom

See also

Extensive Definition

Personal grooming (also called titivating) is the art of cleaning, grooming, and maintaining parts of the body. In animals, it is a species-typical behavior that is controlled by neural circuits in the brain.

In humans

Grooming in humans typically includes bathroom activities such as primping: washing and cleansing the hair, combing it to extract tangles and snarls, and styling. It can also include cosmetic care of the body, such as shaving.
Primping is usually the female act of getting ready before going out for the night. Such activities include showering, the application of makeup and the picking out of the nights outfit and jewelry.

In other animals

Individual animals regularly clean themselves and put their fur, feathers or other skin coverings in good order. This activity is known as personal grooming a form of hygiene. For example, combing through the hair or feathers, ensuring they lie smoothly against the skin, and extracting foreign objects such as insects, and leaves, dirt and twigs, are all forms of grooming.
Among animals, birds spend considerable time preening their feathers. This is done to remove ectoparasites, keep them in good aerodynamic condition, and waterproof them. They use the "preen oil" secreted by the uropygial gland, the dust of powder down, or other means such as dust-bathing or anting. When an oil spill affects penguins, animal conservation that rescue them sometimes dress them in knitted sweaters to stop them from preening and thereby ingesting the mineral oil which is poisonous.
Felidae (cats) are famous for their extensive grooming. One reason advanced for such grooming is to remove all traces of blood and other matter so as to not alert prey with the scent. Cats groom so much that they often produce hairballs from the fur they ingest during grooming.

Grooming as a social activity

Many social animals adapt preening and grooming behaviors for other social purposes such as bonding, social structure enforcement, or dispute resolution.

See also

preen in German: Komfortverhalten
preen in Polish: Zachowanie komfortowe
preen in Russian: Груминг

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

adorn, array, beautify, bedeck, bedizen, blazon, brush up, clean, color, dandify, deck, deck out, decorate, dizen, doll up, dress, dress up, embellish, emblazon, embroider, enrich, fettle, fig out, fix up, furbish, garnish, grace, groom, gussy up, manicure, ornament, paint, pique, plume, prank, prank up, prettify, primp, primp up, prink, prink up, redecorate, redo, refurbish, set off, set out, smarten, smarten up, spruce up, titivate, trick out, trick up, trim
Privacy Policy, About Us, Terms and Conditions, Contact Us
Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2
Material from Wikipedia, Wiktionary, Dict
Valid HTML 4.01 Strict, Valid CSS Level 2.1