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

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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

Most sleeping bags will work just fine in a hammock, but many campers prefer using a quilt instead. Kraig Becker, Popular Mechanics, "How to Set Up Camp," 2 Apr. 2019 In Miami, the wealthy have long preferred the coasts. Richard Florida, WIRED, "Climate Change Will Force the Poor From Their Homes," 13 July 2018 Clapton prefers to stay behind-the-scenes, conceptualizing and constructing the elaborate clothing worn by the actors who have turned characters like Sansa Stark and Jon Snow into household names. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "The Game of Thrones Costume Designer Claps Back at Kit Harington," 3 Apr. 2019 Though Kirsten's life is obviously lived in the public eye, Jonathan prefers to keep a low profile, appearing on his wife's social media occasionally but eschewing developing one of his own. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Who is Kirsten Gillibrand's Husband Jonathan Gillibrand?," 27 Mar. 2019 Ronald Sullivan, presumably an excellent lawyer, prefers claiming victimhood to using the occasion as a teaching moment and defending the constitutional right of anyone accused to competent legal counsel. WSJ, "Harvard Should Be Crimson With Chagrin," 24 Mar. 2019 Yet your average Korean woman, particularly of the millennial generation, prefers simplicity. Jenny Bailly, Allure, "What I Learned About the State of K-Beauty in 2019 by Going Straight to the Source," 21 Mar. 2019 Some riverjacks prefer to use small pieces of overall cloth instead of wood. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Lost Art of Floating Logs Down the River," 16 Feb. 2019 Vergara says her mom, however, prefers the leg-slimming effects of the Gloria style. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "See 'Modern Family' Star Sofía Vergara's Favorite Jeans From Her New Walmart Line," 6 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.

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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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Statistics for prefer

Last Updated

21 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prefer

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

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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)

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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

Comments on prefer

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