AskDefine | Define prune

Dictionary Definition

prune n : dried plum


1 cultivate, tend, and cut back the growth of; "dress the plants in the garden" [syn: snip, clip, crop, trim, lop, dress, cut back]
2 weed out unwanted or unnecessary things; "We had to lose weight, so we cut the sugar from our diet" [syn: cut, rationalize, rationalise]

User Contributed Dictionary



Etymology 1

From Old French prune < Latin prūnum < (prounon), variant of (proumnon) "plumb".


  1. A plum.
  2. The dried, wrinkled fruit of certain species of plum.
  3. A old woman, especially a wrinkly one
    see Wikisaurus:old woman
dried plum

Etymology 2

From Old French proignier, earlier prooignier, ultimately from Latin pro- + rotundus ‘round’.


  1. To remove excess material from a tree or shrub; to trim, especially to make more healthy or productive.
    A good grape grower will prune his vines once a year.
  2. To cut down or shorten (by the removal of unnecessary material); as, to prune a budget.
    Section 3, in its early paragraphs, is a pruning and reshaping of THN 1.1.4–6.
trim a tree or shrub
(figuratively) cut down or shorten
  • Finnish: karsia
  • German: beschneiden
  • Italian: accorciare, ridurre
  • Portuguese: podar



Latin pruna.


  • /pʀyn/
  • /pRyn/


fr-noun f

Related terms

Extensive Definition

A prune is a dried fruit of various plum species, mostly Prunus domestica or European Plums. The fresh fruit looks like a normal plum, but has an oval shape, similar to an apricot. When dried it is wrinkly in texture, and chewy on the inside.


More than 1,000 cultivars of plums are grown for drying. The main cultivar grown in the US is the Improved French prune. Other varieties include Sutter, Tulare Giant, Moyer, Imperial, Italian, and Greengage. In general, prunes are freestone cultivars (the pit is easy to remove), whereas most other plums grown for fresh consumption are cling (the pit is more difficult to remove). Fresh prunes reach the market earlier than fresh plums and are usually smaller in size and have an oval shape.
One of the largest and best-known prune producers is Sunsweet Growers, headquartered in Yuba City, CA, who control more than 2/3 of the prune market worldwide. In the United States, an effort to rebrand "prunes" as "dried plums" began in 2000, to appeal to a younger market who associated prunes with elderly people. However, only some varieties of plum are usually called prunes when dried; others have usually been called "dried plums" in any case.
In India, the prune is known by the Persian name or as Alu-Bukhara (literally fruit or potato of Bukhara).


Prunes are used in cooking both sweet and savory dishes. Stewed prunes, a compote, are a dessert. Prunes are a frequent ingredient in North African tagines. Perhaps the best-known gastronomic prunes are those of Agen (pruneaux d'Agen). Prunes are used frequently in Tzimmes, a traditional Jewish dish in which the principal ingredient is diced or sliced carrots; and in traditional Norwegian fruktsuppe.

Health benefits

Prune juice contains the natural laxative dihydrophenylisatin (related to isatin). Prunes also contain a fair amount of dietary "fibre" (about 7%, or 0.7 g per prune). Prunes and prune juice are thus common home remedies for constipation. (According to the dietary fibre article, plums and prunes have a thick skin covering a juicy pulp--the plum's skin is a source of insoluble fibre, whereas the pulp is a source of soluble fiber.) Prunes have a high antioxidant content

In popular culture

  • The word prune can be a derogatory term, for example, "Dom is being a prune", meaning that Dom is in a bad mood.


See also

External links

prune in German: Trockenpflaume
prune in Spanish: Ciruela pasa
prune in French: Pruneau
prune in Simple English: Prune

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

abbreviate, abridge, abscind, abstract, amputate, annihilate, ax, backset, ban, bar, bisect, blockhead, bob, boil down, brash, butcher, capsulize, carve, chop, chump, cleave, clip, compress, condense, contract, crop, cull, cultivate, culture, curtail, cut, cut away, cut back, cut down, cut in two, cut off, cut off short, cut out, cut short, delve, dichotomize, dig, dimwit, dissever, dock, dolt, dope, dress, dumbbell, elide, eliminate, enucleate, epitomize, eradicate, except, excise, exclude, extinguish, extirpate, fallow, fertilize, fissure, force, foreshorten, gash, hack, halve, harrow, hew, hoe, idiot, ignoramus, incise, isolate, jigsaw, knock off, lance, list, lop, moron, mow, mulch, mutilate, nip, pare, peel, pick out, plow, poll, pollard, rake, reap, recap, recapitulate, reduce, rend, retrench, rive, root out, rule out, saw, scissor, set apart, set aside, sever, shave, shear, shorten, skive, slash, slice, slit, snip, snub, spade, split, stamp out, strike off, strip, strip off, stunt, sum up, summarize, sunder, synopsize, take in, take off, take out, tear, telescope, thin, thin out, till, till the soil, trim, truncate, weed, weed out, whittle, wipe out, work
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