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prunes and prisms

Intentionally formal and/or prudish speech or action. The phrase originated in Charles Dickens' novel Little Dorrit as an example of proper speech. When you talk to your grandmother, stick to prunes and prisms so that you don't offend her. If you want to become a proper lady, practice saying "prunes and prisms"!
See also: and, prune

prune something away

to cut away something unwanted or unneeded. Please prune the lower branches of the trees away. They are starting to annoy pedestrians. We pruned away the dead branches.
See also: away, prune

prune something of something

to clear, clean, or groom something of something by pruning. Sally was out in the orchard pruning the apple trees of dead branches. They pruned the roses of their unneeded branches.
See also: of, prune

prune something off (of) something

 and prune something off
to cut something off something. (Of is usually retained before pronouns.) Claire pruned the dead branch off the apple tree. She pruned off the dead branch.
See also: off, prune

full of beans

1. Lively, energetic, in high spirits, as in The children were full of beans today, looking forward to their field trip. This expression has no valid explanation. [c. 1840]
2. Also, full of prunes. Acting foolish, talking nonsense, as in One cup of coffee won't hurt you-you're full of prunes. [c. 1930] Also see full of crap.
See also: bean, full, of

full of beans

If you are full of beans, you are very happy and energetic. Jem was among them, pink-cheeked and full of beans after his long sleep. He's a likable extrovert, full of beans. Note: This originally referred to a horse that was well-fed and therefore full of energy.
See also: bean, full, of

full of beans

lively; in high spirits. informal
This phrase was originally used by people who work with horses, and referred to the good condition of a horse fed on beans.
See also: bean, full, of

prunes and prisms

used to denote a prim and affected speech, look, or manner.
In Charles Dickens's Little Dorrit ( 1857 ), Mrs General advocates speaking this phrase aloud in order to give ‘a pretty form to the lips’.
See also: and, prune

full of ˈbeans

very lively, active and healthy: Ray is certainly full of beans again after his illness.This phrase was originally used to talk about horses that were fed on beans.
See also: bean, full, of

full of beans

mod. full of nonsense; full of hot air. Oh, be quiet. You’re just full of beans.
See also: bean, full, of

full of prunes

mod. full of nonsense. (see also full of beans. Prunes can cause gas = hot air = nonsense.) You’re just silly. Completely full of prunes.
See also: full, of, prune

full of beans

1. Energetic; frisky: The children were too full of beans to sit still.
2. Badly mistaken: Don't believe him; he's full of beans.
See also: bean, full, of
References in periodicals archive ?
In 2005 and 2006, there were fewer shoots growing in the pruned treatment in late summer than in the unpruned treatment trees (fig.
The younger the tree when pruned the more active the healing process.
Those which must be pruned now are those which don't start flowering until June, and keep going until the autumn, as they make vigorous growth and only flower on the ends of shoots.
Evergreen shrubs should be pruned in early summer to avoid any risk of frost damage to tender new shoots.
Some sideshoots can be pruned by just a few centimetres, cutting above a healthy outward facing but, away from the centre of the plant.
Already, customers whose trees need to be pruned have the option to have their service lines buried or to reroute the lines at their expense to avoid their trees.
Pruned at the wrong time you risk removing the wood on which flowers will be produced the following spring.
All of the study trees were tagged, and every other tree was pruned to a height equal to approximately a 50% live-crown ratio -- defined as the ratio of the distance from the treetop to the lowest live branch to total tree height -- or no greater than 8 feet.
The hedge has encroached onto the pathway and needs to be pruned back hard.
Spring and early summer-flowering deciduous shrubs should be pruned as soon as flowering is finished, by removing diseased or thin shoots, then cutting all the branches that flowered to within a few buds of the base and leaving the new shoots to flower next year.
Still, throughout Los Angeles, deciduous trees are frequently pruned prior to complete leaf fall, and I have never seen any of them harmed as a result.
Q Would I kill my apple trees if I pruned them drastically?
An American holly that has completely lost its shape can be heavily pruned, removing branches at their point of origin.