Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • transitive verb To choose or be in the habit of choosing as more desirable or as having more value.
  • transitive verb To give priority or precedence to (a creditor).
  • transitive verb To present (a charge) against a defendant before a court.
  • transitive verb To present (a case) to a court as ready for consideration.
  • transitive verb Archaic To recommend for advancement or appointment; promote.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb 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 verb obsolete To go before, or be before, in estimation; to outrank; to surpass.
  • transitive verb To cause to go before; hence, to advance before others, as to an office or dignity; to raise; to exalt; to promote.
  • transitive verb 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.
  • transitive verb stock which takes a dividend before other capital stock; -- called also preference stock and preferential stock.

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English preferren, from Old French preferer, from Latin praeferre : prae-, pre- + ferre, to carry; see bher- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Anglo-Norman, Middle French preferer, (French préférer), from Latin praeferō.

Examples

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