AskDefine | Define tittivate

Dictionary Definition

tittivate v : make neat, smart, or trim; "Spruce up your house for Spring"; "titivate the child" [syn: spruce up, spruce, titivate, smarten up, slick up, spiff up]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. ; to spruce up.
    "Didn't you see how Joe had been tittivating [...]?" - "The Woman at the Store", from "Selected Short Stories" by Katherine Mansfield (first published in 1912)

Extensive Definition

Personal grooming (also called titivating) is the art of cleaning, grooming, and maintaining parts of the body. In animals, it is a species-typical behavior that is controlled by neural circuits in the brain.

In humans

Grooming in humans typically includes bathroom activities such as primping: washing and cleansing the hair, combing it to extract tangles and snarls, and styling. It can also include cosmetic care of the body, such as shaving.
Primping is usually the female act of getting ready before going out for the night. Such activities include showering, the application of makeup and the picking out of the nights outfit and jewelry.

In other animals

Individual animals regularly clean themselves and put their fur, feathers or other skin coverings in good order. This activity is known as personal grooming a form of hygiene. For example, combing through the hair or feathers, ensuring they lie smoothly against the skin, and extracting foreign objects such as insects, and leaves, dirt and twigs, are all forms of grooming.
Among animals, birds spend considerable time preening their feathers. This is done to remove ectoparasites, keep them in good aerodynamic condition, and waterproof them. They use the "preen oil" secreted by the uropygial gland, the dust of powder down, or other means such as dust-bathing or anting. When an oil spill affects penguins, animal conservation that rescue them sometimes dress them in knitted sweaters to stop them from preening and thereby ingesting the mineral oil which is poisonous.
Felidae (cats) are famous for their extensive grooming. One reason advanced for such grooming is to remove all traces of blood and other matter so as to not alert prey with the scent. Cats groom so much that they often produce hairballs from the fur they ingest during grooming.

Grooming as a social activity

Many social animals adapt preening and grooming behaviors for other social purposes such as bonding, social structure enforcement, or dispute resolution.

See also

tittivate in German: Komfortverhalten
tittivate in Polish: Zachowanie komfortowe
tittivate in Russian: Груминг
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