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

Spransy still prefers the word-of-mouth approach, and asked that his address not be publicized. Evan Frank, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "An Oconomowoc mansion has become a popular concert venue for musicians, even an 'American Idol'," 10 July 2019 Employers have a financial incentive to prefer OPT applicants over U.S. workers. Ethan Baron, The Mercury News, "H-1B: Judge revives lawsuit seeking to kill foreign-student work permit, allows input from Big Tech and outsourcers," 5 July 2019 The Pacers seem to prefer going the Raptors route, building depth instead of one big piece, according to general manager Kevin Pritchard on Indianapolis radio. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "D'Angelo Russell rumors: Suns speculation heats up after Devin Booker campaigning report," 26 June 2019 There are 19 freshmen ranging from scholarship players to preferred walk-ons, and 10 transfers from the junior college ranks and small colleges, as well as two players hailing from the SEC. Evan Dudley, al.com, "UAB adds summer enrollees to roster," 25 June 2019 Worse, the animals seem to prefer those ‘microplastics’ over their natural food—even when the plastic is carrying bacteria that can kill them. Jenny Howard, National Geographic, "These corals choose to eat plastic over food," 25 June 2019 Russians tend to prefer wine on the sugary side, so expect a lot of dessert and semi-sweet wines. Jeff Opdyke, latimes.com, "Crimea is an unexpected beauty set against an unsettled history," 23 June 2019 Gopher tortoises tend to prefer high and dry habitats, the same places typically used for residential land development. Leah Asmelash And Melissa Gray, CNN, "Florida police detained a tortoise for blocking the road. He got away with a warning and a selfie," 23 June 2019 For several decades following Cooper's death Vanderbilt continued to prefer to be known, in private, as Mrs. Cooper. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Inside Gloria Vanderbilt's Complicated Relationships with Her Sons," 17 June 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

14 Jul 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 complain fretfully

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!