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

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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?
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Recent Examples on the Web Instead, Kingsbury would prefer to have a pass catching tight end who can be a mismatch for whoever he is lined up against. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, "David Njoku trade: Arizona Cardinals 'most intriguing fit' for Cleveland Browns tight end," 5 July 2020 Because of that injury, the coronavirus pandemic that threatens the season, and the unusual throwing schedule their young pitchers have been on, the Tigers may prefer to err on the side of caution in pushing them. Anthony Fenech, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers' Casey Mize throws first bullpen session under watchful eyes," 4 July 2020 But as consumers like Barrington noted, many would prefer paying lower rates than getting these channels. Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY, "Cutting the cord: What now, after YouTube TV's price increase?," 3 July 2020 Meanwhile, another contributor to living at home doesn’t directly have to do with considerations like child care or education—some families simply prefer to have multiple generations under the same roof. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, "The Pandemic’s Boomerang Generation Has Settled In," 3 July 2020 The neighbors eventually come to prefer Kristy’s club, but the show never quite reconciles its place in 2020. Hank Stuever, Washington Post, "Netflix’s fresh take on ‘The Baby-Sitters Club’ celebrates the best qualities of a new generation," 2 July 2020 Although, her husband Jerome Payne would prefer that day come sooner, rather than later. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, "Meet Pat Payne, an IPS teacher who has spent more than 5 decades working on racial equity," 2 July 2020 In five years, people will prefer to meet online first before meeting in person. Quartz Staff, Quartz, "Amanda Bradford knows the future means we’ll find more connection online," 30 June 2020 For one thing, clients who have time demands of their own may prefer it. Peter Krouse, cleveland, "Companies learn that more employees can work from home permanently: Top Workplaces 2020," 28 June 2020

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.

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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

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Time Traveler for prefer

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for prefer

Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prefer.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for prefer


How to pronounce prefer (audio)

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


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)

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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

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