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

  • adj. Tending to preserve or capable of preserving.
  • n. Something used to preserve, especially a chemical added to foods to inhibit spoilage.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. any agent, natural or artificial that acts to preserve, especially when added to food
  • adj. tending to preserve

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having the power or quality of preserving; tending to preserve, or to keep from injury, decay, etc.
  • n. That which preserves, or has the power of preserving; a presevative agent.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Preserving; tending to keep safe, sound, or free from decay: as, the preservative quality of salt.
  • n. That which preserves; anything which tends to keep safe and sound, or free from injury, corruption, or decay; a preventive of damage, decomposition, or waste.

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

  • adj. tending or having the power to preserve
  • n. a chemical compound that is added to protect against decay or decomposition


Sorry, no etymologies found.


  • I have had some previous experience in this branch of what I call preservative chemistry, and I have already in some degree succeeded in attaining my object.

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  • She sealed it with a blue lid fitted with a built-in preservative and sent it back to Kaiser.

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  • So yes vaccine preservative is yet another junk science scare, leading to mothers reluctant to inoculate their children.

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  • As for Debbie's fear of mercury in vaccines, the only vaccine that might include a mercury-containing preservative is the influenza vaccine, now recommended for all children between 6 months and 5 years of age.

    Op-eds on vaccines by Paul Offit, MD

  • Thimerosal, as a preservative, is no longer contained in any childhood vaccine, with the exception of the influenza vaccine.


  • This use of vinegar as a flavoring as well as a preservative is reflected in many Mexican regional cuisines.

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  • "It's kind of akin to putting lotion on your hands, so it's a long-term preservative," Camp said.

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  • When lemon juice is sprinkled on certain foods that tend to oxidize and turn brown after being sliced, such as apples, bananas and avocados, the acid acts as a short-term preservative by denaturing the enzymes that cause browning and degradation.

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  • This may be understood either with respect to what immediately precedes, "If you are to reprove others for their sins, and would be faithful to your duty in this particular, you must look well to yourselves, and to your own behaviour and conduct" (and, indeed, those only are fit to reprove others who walk with due circumspection and care themselves): or else we have here another remedy or rather preservative from the before-mentioned sins; and this I take to be the design of the apostle, being impossible to maintain purity and holiness of heart and life without great circumspection and care.

    Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume VI (Acts to Revelation)

  • Some people worry about thimerosal for children because it’s mercury-based, but the CDC says there’s no scientific evidence the preservative is harmful.

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