"act of pruning," 1660s, noun of action from past participle stem of Latin surculare "chear of shoots or twigs," from surculus "tender young shoot, twig, sprout, sucker."
pruning shears, by 1872, earlier as a French word in English, from French sécateur, ultimately from Latin secare "to cut" (from PIE root *sek- "to cut").
late 14c., prouynen, proinen, of a bird, "to trim the feathers with the beak;" of a person, "to dress or groom oneself carefully," from an extended or transferred sense of Old French proignier, poroindre "cut back (vines), prune" (Modern French provigner), a word of unknown origin. Compare preen, which seems to be a variant of this word that kept the original senses.
The main modern sense of "lop superfluous twigs or branches from" is from 1540s, perhaps a separate borrowing of the French word. It is earlier in English in a general sense of "lop off as superfluous or injurious" (early 15c.).
Perhaps [Watkins] from Gallo-Roman *pro-retundiare "cut in a rounded shape in front," from pro "forth" (see pro-) + *retundiare "round off," from Latin rotundus (see round (adj.)). Klein suggests the Old French word is from provain "layer of a vine," from Latin propago (see prop (n.1)).
Related: Pruned; pruning. Pruning hook, knife with a hooked blade used for pruning plants, is from 1610s; pruning knife, knife with a curved blade, is from 1580s.
1580s in the military sense of "interior defensive works;" see retrench (v.1) + -ment. In the sense of "action of lopping off or pruning" it is attested from c. 1600, from obsolete French retrenchement "a cutting off or out," from retrencher, later retrancher (see retrench (v.2)). The sense of "act of economizing" is from 1660s.
1610s, "a cutting off of tree branches, a pruning," also "operation of cutting off a limb, etc., of a body," from French amputation or directly from Latin amputationem (nominative amputatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of amputare "to cut off, lop off; cut around, to prune," from am(bi)- "around" (from PIE root *ambhi- "around") + putare "to prune, trim" (from PIE root *pau- (2) "to cut, strike, stamp").
mid-15c., "act of cutting off or deducting a part" (originally in reference to withholding wages), from Old French defalcation and directly from Medieval Latin defalcationem (nominative defalcatio), noun of action from past-participle stem of defalcare, from de "off, away" (see de-) + Latin falx, falcem "sickle, scythe, pruning hook" (see falcate). Sense of "a monetary deficiency through breach of trust by one who has charge of funds belonging to others" is by 1846.
1860, from French argot (17c.) "the jargon of Paris rogues and thieves" (for purposes of disguise and concealment), earlier "the company of beggars," from French argot, "group of beggars," a word of unknown origin.
Gamillscheg suggests a connection to Old French argoter "to cut off the stubs left in pruning," with a connecting sense of "to get a grip on." The best English equivalent is perhaps cant. The German equivalent is Rotwelsch, literally "Red Welsh," but the first element of that might be connected with Middle High German rot "beggar." Compare pedlar's French (1520s) "language of thieves and vagabonds."
mid-13c., faucon, from Old French faucon "falcon" (12c.), from Late Latin falconem (nominative falco) "falcon" (source also of Old Spanish falcon, Portuguese falcão, Italian falcone, Old High German falcho, German Falke, Dutch valk), probably from Latin falx (genitive falcis) "curved blade, pruning hook, sickle, war-scythe" (see falcate); the bird said to be so called for the shape of its talons, legs, or beak, but also possibly from the shape of its spread wings.
The other theory is that the Latin bird name falx is of Germanic origin and means "gray bird" (from PIE root *pel- (1) "pale"), which is supported by the antiquity of the word in Germanic but opposed by those who point out that falconry by all evidences was imported from the East, and the Germans got it from the Romans, not the other way round.