rank, etc.; rarely, in a bad sense, superiority or notoriety in evil; as, preëminence in honor.

The preëminence of Christianity to any other religious scheme.

Painful preëminence! yourself to view
Above life's weakness, and its comforts too.

Beneath the forehead's walled preëminence.

(Pre*ëm"i*nent) a. [L. praeminens, -entis, p. pr. praeminere to be prominent, to surpass: cf. F. prééminent. See Pre-, and Eminent.] Eminent above others; prominent among those who are eminent; superior in excellence; surpassing, or taking precedence of, others; rarely, surpassing others in evil, or in bad qualities; as, preëminent in guilt.

In goodness and in power preëminent.

(Pre*ëm"i*nent*ly), adv. In a preëminent degree.

(Pre`ëm*ploy) v. t. To employ beforehand. "Preëmployed by him." Shak.

(Pre*ëmpt") v. t. & i. [imp. & p. p. Preëmpted; p. pr. & vb. n. Preëmpting.] [See Preëmption.] To settle upon (public land) with a right of preemption, as under the laws of the United States; to take by preëmption.

(Pre*ëmp"tion) n. [Pref. pre- + emption: cf. F. préemption. See Redeem.] The act or right of purchasing before others. Specifically: (a) The privilege or prerogative formerly enjoyed by the king of buying provisions for his household in preference to others. [Eng.] (b) The right of an actual settler upon public lands (particularly those of the United States) to purchase a certain portion at a fixed price in preference to all other applicants. Abbott.

(Pre*ëmp"tion*er) n. One who holds a prior right to purchase certain public land. Abbott.

(Pre*ëmp"tive) a. Of or pertaining to preëmption; having power to preëmpt; preëmpting.

(Pre*ëmpt"or) n. [Cf. L. praeemptor.] One who preëmpts; esp., one who preëmpts public land.

(Pre*ëmpt"o*ry) a. Pertaining to preëmption.

(Preen) n. [AS. preón a clasp, bodkin; akin to D. priem punch, bodkin, awl, G. pfriem, Icel. prjonn a knitting needle, pin, Dan. preen a bodkin, punch.] A forked tool used by clothiers in dressing cloth.

(Preen), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Preened ; p. pr. & vb. n. Preening.] [See Preen, n.; or cf. Prune.]

1. To dress with, or as with, a preen; to trim or dress with the beak, as the feathers; — said of birds. Derham.

2. To trim up, as trees. [Prov. Eng.] Halliwell.

(Pre`ën*gage") v. t. [imp. & p. p. Preëngaged ; p. pr. & vb. n. Preëngaging ] To engage by previous contract; to bind or attach previously; to preoccupy.

But he was preëngaged by former ties.

(Pre`ën*gage"ment) n. Prior engagement, obligation, or attachment, as by contract, promise, or affection.

My preëngagements to other themes were not unknown to those for whom I was to write.

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