prefer

verb
pre·​fer | \ pri-ˈfər How to pronounce prefer (audio) \
preferred; preferring

Definition of prefer

transitive verb

1 : to promote or advance to a rank or position
2 : to like better or best prefers sports to reading prefers to watch TV
3 : to give (a creditor) priority
4 archaic : to put or set forward or before someone : recommend
5 : to bring or lay against someone won't prefer charges
6 : to bring forward or lay before one for consideration

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from prefer

preferrer noun

Examples of prefer in a Sentence

Some people like vanilla ice cream, but I prefer chocolate. She tends to prefer small college campuses. I prefer this dictionary because of its helpful examples. Which one is the preferred alternative? What is the preferred pronunciation of her name?
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Now, Anthony and KKW seem to have come into their own, preferring to more subtly riff off of each other’s outfits, whether that's a navel-baring shirt or suede knee-high boots. Vogue, "Kim Kardashian West Pairs Up With an Equally Chic BFF," 16 May 2019 GitLab used to have a headquarters in San Francisco, but got rid of it because employees preferred to work remotely. Agam Shah, WSJ, "The Office of the Future Is No Office at All, Says Startup," 15 May 2019 Some people prefer realistic dildos and others want something bright and colorful. Sophie Saint Thomas, Allure, "A Guide to Pegging Your Partner With a Strap On," 8 May 2019 That being said, if airy is your preferred scrambled egg texture, use a whisk and go to town. Audrey Bruno, SELF, "6 Tips to Make Perfect Scrambled Eggs," 3 May 2019 Stick to nonoily makeup removers as well: Shin recommends using micellar water with a cotton swab to remove makeup around your eyes (with cotton pads, fibers will stick to your lashes), whereas Shirai prefers presoaked oil-free makeup-removing pads. Katheryn Erickson, Glamour, "Your Everything Guide to Eyelash Extensions," 28 Mar. 2019 On Tuesday, the billionaire investor’s firm agreed to inject $10 billion into Occidental’s bid to acquire Anadarko Petroleum Corp. Berkshire will get preferred Occidental shares if a deal goes through. Nicole Friedman, WSJ, "Warren Buffett’s Occidental Play Looks Familiar," 30 Apr. 2019 In conclusion, Taylor is continuing to intensely reject the surprise album drop era ushered in by Beyoncé, instead preferring to protract what is probably an album rollout until her typical release months of October/November. Claire Dodson, Teen Vogue, "Taylor Swift's Cryptic Social Media Clues Have Reached a Breaking Point," 23 Apr. 2019 Having a knack for architecture and materials helps Arps address some of the pitfalls—specifically, noise—that come with the open floorplans young companies prefer. Emma Bazilian, House Beautiful, "Dani Arps Knows How To Design Rooms That Help You Get Things Done," 11 Feb. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prefer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of prefer

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prefer

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about prefer

Statistics for prefer

Last Updated

19 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prefer

The first known use of prefer was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for prefer

prefer

verb

English Language Learners 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

prefer

verb
pre·​fer | \ pri-ˈfər How to pronounce prefer (audio) \
preferred; preferring

Kids Definition of prefer

: to like better than another or others She prefers chocolate ice cream.
pre·​fer | \ pri-ˈfər How to pronounce prefer (audio) \
preferred; preferring

Legal Definition of prefer

1 : to give (a creditor or debt) priority or preference any preferred charges such as child support or alimonyIn re Smiley, 427 P.2d 179 (1967)
2 : to bring forward for determination especially : to bring (a charge) against someone the various means by which a grand jury might prefer charges State v. Byrd, 399 S.E.2d 267 (1990)

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on prefer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prefer

Spanish Central: Translation of prefer

Nglish: Translation of prefer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prefer for Arabic Speakers

Comments on prefer

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

to speak slightingly about or to degrade

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!