Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

prefer

play
verb pre·fer \pri-ˈfər\

Simple Definition of prefer

  • : to like (someone or something) better than someone or something else

  • law : to make (a charge) against someone in a court of law

Full Definition of prefer

pre·ferredpre·fer·ring

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to promote or advance to a rank or position

  3. 2 :  to like better or best <prefers sports to reading> <prefers to watch TV>

  4. 3 :  to give (a creditor) priority

  5. 4 archaic :  to put or set forward or before someone :  recommend

  6. 5 :  to bring or lay against someone <won't prefer charges>

  7. 6 :  to bring forward or lay before one for consideration

pre·fer·rer noun

Examples of prefer

  1. Some people like vanilla ice cream, but I prefer chocolate.

  2. She tends to prefer small college campuses.

  3. I prefer this dictionary because of its helpful examples.

  4. Which one is the preferred alternative?

  5. What is the preferred pronunciation of her name?



Origin of prefer

Middle English preferren, from Anglo-French preferrer, from Latin praeferre to put before, prefer, from prae- + ferre to carry — more at bear


First Known Use: 14th century


PREFER Defined for Kids

prefer

play
verb pre·fer \pri-ˈfər\

Definition of prefer

pre·ferredpre·fer·ring

  1. :  to like better than another or others <She prefers chocolate ice cream.>



Word Root of prefer

The Latin word ferre, meaning “to carry” or “to bring,” gives us the root fer. Words from the Latin ferre have something to do with carrying. To transfer is to carry across from one person, place, or condition to another. To confer is to bring something to someone in order to present it. To offer is to bring forth for another to accept or reject. To prefer is to carry a stronger liking for one over another.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up prefer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 9, 2016

marked by high spirits and laughter

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

duvet pince-nez kittly-benders spindrift
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ