Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To maintain in safety from injury, peril, or harm; protect.
  • transitive v. To keep in perfect or unaltered condition; maintain unchanged.
  • transitive v. To keep or maintain intact: tried to preserve family harmony. See Synonyms at defend.
  • transitive v. To prepare (food) for future use, as by canning or salting.
  • transitive v. To prevent (organic bodies) from decaying or spoiling.
  • transitive v. To keep or protect (game or fish) for one's private hunting or fishing.
  • intransitive v. To treat fruit or other foods so as to prevent decay.
  • intransitive v. To maintain a private area stocked with game or fish.
  • n. Something that acts to preserve; a preservative.
  • n. Fruit cooked with sugar to protect against decay or fermentation. Often used in the plural.
  • n. An area maintained for the protection of wildlife or natural resources.
  • n. Something considered as being the exclusive province of certain persons: Ancient Greek is the preserve of scholars.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A sweet spread made of any of a variety of berries.
  • n. A nature preserve.
  • v. To protect; to keep; to maintain the condition of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To keep or save from injury or destruction; to guard or defend from evil, harm, danger, etc.; to protect.
  • transitive v. To save from decay by the use of some preservative substance, as sugar, salt, etc.; to season and prepare for remaining in a good state, as fruits, meat, etc..
  • transitive v. To maintain throughout; to keep intact
  • intransitive v. To make preserves.
  • intransitive v. To protect game for purposes of sport.
  • n. That which is preserved; fruit, etc., seasoned and kept by suitable preparation; esp., fruit cooked with sugar; -- commonly in the plural.
  • n. A place in which game, fish, etc., are preserved for purposes of sport, or for food.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To keep safe or free from harm; defend from injury or destruction; save.
  • To maintain; secure permanence to; keep in existence or alive; make lasting: as, to preserve one's good looks.
  • To keep possession of; retain.
  • To prepare in such a manner as to resist decomposition or fermentation; prevent from spoiling by the use of preservative substances, with or without the agency of heat: as, to preserve meats or fruit; to preserve an anatomical specimen.
  • To maintain and reserve for personal or special use in hunting or fishing.
  • To prepare decomposable substances, as meats or fruits, for preservation; make preserves.
  • To raise and protect game for special use, as in hunting or fishing.
  • n. That which preserves or saves.
  • n. Specifically plural A kind of spectacles with colored glasses to protect the eyes from too strong light.
  • n. That which is preserved, or prepared for keeping; especially, fruit, meats, etc., suitably seasoned and cooked to prevent fermentation or spoiling.
  • n. A place where game is preserved; a place set apart for the protection and propagation of game intended for hunting or fishing.
  • n. A thing preserved.

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

  • v. to keep up and reserve for personal or special use
  • n. a reservation where animals are protected
  • v. maintain in safety from injury, harm, or danger
  • v. keep undisturbed for personal or private use for hunting, shooting, or fishing
  • v. keep or maintain in unaltered condition; cause to remain or last
  • v. prevent (food) from rotting
  • n. a domain that seems to be specially reserved for someone
  • v. keep in safety and protect from harm, decay, loss, or destruction
  • n. fruit preserved by cooking with sugar

Etymologies

Middle English preserven, from Old French preserver, from Medieval Latin praeservāre, from Late Latin, to observe beforehand : Latin prae-, pre- + Latin servāre, to guard, preserve; see ser-1 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

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