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
  1. verb
    clean with one's bill
    “The birds preened
    synonyms: plume
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    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
  2. verb
    dress or groom with elaborate care
    synonyms: dress, plume, primp
    dress, get dressed
    put on clothes
    see moresee less
    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
  3. verb
    pride or congratulate (oneself) for an achievement
    synonyms: congratulate
    see moresee less
    type of:
    crow, gloat, triumph
    dwell on with satisfaction
Word Family

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