When a bird or a cat preens, it smooths its feathers or cleans its fur. When you preen, you primp and pay careful attention to how you're dressed and groomed, as if you're inviting the whole world to watch you.

You can also preen just by puffing yourself up and congratulating yourself for something. You've just landed your triple flip on the ski jump, and, as you swoosh to a stop at the foot of the hill and take off your skis, you preen as you make your way through the adoring crowd.

Definitions of preen

v clean with one's bill

“The birds preened
Type of:
arrange, set up
put into a proper or systematic order
clean, make clean
make clean by removing dirt, filth, or unwanted substances from

v dress or groom with elaborate care

dress, plume, primp
dress, get dressed
put on clothes
Type of:
attire, deck out, deck up, dress up, fancy up, fig out, fig up, get up, gussy up, overdress, prink, rig out, tog out, tog up, trick out, trick up
put on special clothes to appear particularly appealing and attractive

v pride or congratulate (oneself) for an achievement

Type of:
crow, gloat, triumph
dwell on with satisfaction

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