Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To choose or be in the habit of choosing as more desirable or as having more value: prefers coffee to tea.
  • transitive v. Law To give priority or precedence to (a creditor).
  • transitive v. Law To file, prosecute, or offer for consideration or resolution before a magistrate, court, or other legal authority: preferred the suit in a higher court.
  • transitive v. Archaic To recommend for advancement or appointment; promote.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To carry or bring (something) forward, or before one; hence, to bring for consideration, acceptance, judgment, etc.; to offer; to present; to proffer; to address; -- said especially of a request, prayer, petition, claim, charge, etc.
  • transitive v. To go before, or be before, in estimation; to outrank; to surpass.
  • transitive v. To cause to go before; hence, to advance before others, as to an office or dignity; to raise; to exalt; to promote.
  • transitive v. To set above or before something else in estimation, favor, or liking; to regard or honor before another; to hold in greater favor; to choose rather; -- often followed by to, before, or above.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To bring or set before; present; proffer; offer.
  • To offer for consideration or decision; set forth; present in a conventional or formal manner, as a suit, prayer, or accusation.
  • To bring into notice or favor; recommend.
  • To bring forward or advance in dignity or office; raise; exalt.
  • To set before other things in estimation; hold in greater liking or esteem; choose; incline more toward.
  • Specifically, in law, to give a preference to. See preference, 2.
  • To outrank; be reckoned preferable to.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. select as an alternative over another
  • v. give preference to one creditor over another
  • v. promote over another
  • v. like better; value more highly

Etymologies

Middle English preferren, from Old French preferer, from Latin praeferre : prae-, pre- + ferre, to carry; see bher-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Anglo-Norman, Middle French preferer, (French préférer), from Latin praeferō. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The Esquimaux prefer it raw in these parts of the world (although some travellers assert that in more southern latitudes they prefer cooked meat), and with good reason, for it is much more nourishing than cooked flesh; and learned, scientific men, who have wintered in the Arctic regions, have distinctly stated that in those cold countries they found raw meat to be better for them than cooked meat, and they assure us that they at last came to _prefer_ it!

    The World of Ice

  • The Esquimaux prefer it raw in these parts of the world (although some travellers assert that in more southern latitudes they prefer cooked meat); and with good reason, for it is much more nourishing than cooked flesh, and learned, scientific men who have wintered in the Arctic Regions have distinctly stated that in those cold countries they found raw meat to be better for them than cooked meat, and they assure us that they at last came to _prefer_ it!

    The World of Ice

  • In time the peoples of Europe will again prefer throwback59

    The term ‘Molotov cocktail’ is notably absent from this Lars Vilks report. | RedState

  • What us Texans would prefer is that the Terminator use that knife to slice the cancerous tumor known as California clear from the U.S.

    Schwarzenegger wields knife, talks budget cuts in video

  • What I'd prefer is that the filmmakers sink just a little dough into Welles's not-quite-finished unreleased 1970s feature starring John Huston titled "The Other Side of the Wind."

    Orson Welles to Narrate 3D Holiday Film | /Film

  • The favour, sir, Mr. Pathurst, that I would prefer is that you will not mention that little matter to anybody.

    CHAPTER XXIV

  • What I prefer is that I not be subjected to the evolving romance of characters X and Y.

    Matthew Yglesias » The Final Frontier

  • Choose the font and font size you prefer from the drop-down boxes in this window, then click on the "default" button in the lower left-hand corner of the window.

    Mystery of the Day

  • Which they would each prefer is left hauntingly ambiguous.

    Graham Moore: Sherlock Holmes Gets the US Weekly Treatment, and I Couldn't Be Happier

  • The validity of the calculation you prefer is debatable, but in any case a lower GDP only serves to strengthen the case for independence rather than weaken it.

    The £6bn lie

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