preference

noun
pref·​er·​ence | \ ˈpre-fərn(t)s How to pronounce preference (audio) , ˈpre-f(ə-)rən(t)s\

Definition of preference

1a : the act of preferring : the state of being preferred
b : the power or opportunity of choosing
2 : one that is preferred
3 : the act, fact, or principle of giving advantages to some over others
4 : priority in the right to demand and receive satisfaction of an obligation
5 : orientation sense 2b sexual preference

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Synonyms for preference

Synonyms

darling, fave, favorite, minion, pet, speed

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Choose the Right Synonym for preference

choice, option, alternative, preference, selection, election mean the act or opportunity of choosing or the thing chosen. choice suggests the opportunity or privilege of choosing freely. freedom of choice option implies a power to choose that is specifically granted or guaranteed. the option of paying now or later alternative implies a need to choose one and reject another possibility. equally attractive alternatives preference suggests a choice guided by one's judgment or predilections. a preference for cool weather selection implies a range of choice. a varied selection of furniture election implies an end or purpose which requires exercise of judgment. doing a tax return forces certain elections on you

Examples of preference in a Sentence

Car buyers have recently shown a growing preference for smaller vehicles. When it comes to music, everyone has their own preferences. Some people like small cars and some people like big cars. It's a matter of personal preference. She listed her favorite restaurants in order of preference. He has tried not to show preference in giving out jobs. The policy of the school is to give preference to minority candidates. “We could go to an Italian or Chinese restaurant tonight. What's your preference?” “Either one is fine. I don't have a preference.”
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Recent Examples on the Web

Plenty of people don't spend Valentine's Day with their significant other for any number of reasons, including distance, work obligations, or just personal preference. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Did Chase Chrisley and Girlfriend Lindsey Merrick Break Up?," 21 Feb. 2019 Everyone’s preferences are different, but the bass of Sony’s default sound signature is fun and rich without going Beats-circa-2010 overboard. Jeff Dunn, Ars Technica, "The Ars Holiday Gift Guide 2018—tech and gear for travel that we’d buy," 13 Nov. 2018 The mathematics of combining millions of people’s preferences over hundreds of options (i.e., candidates and policies) means that there is no such thing as a majority will. Jennifer Victor, Vox, "What good are elections, anyway?," 30 Oct. 2018 The startup is aiming to do smart thermostats one better by installing sensor-laden vents into homes that can track and adjust temperature, monitor air quality, and use predictive analytics to anticipate a homeowner’s temperature preferences. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "New startup gives the HVAC system a smart upgrade," 14 Sep. 2018 Part of that process is considering a patient’s preferences. Orly Nadell Farber, STAT, "New approach to breast cancer screening — tailoring guidelines for each patient — may save lives and money, study says," 5 July 2018 Personal space preferences vary from person to person—and even among different cultures. Sophia Gottfried, Time, "The Body Language Mistakes You Don't Realize You're Making at Work, According to Experts," 28 June 2018 For me, the onset of puberty was further confused by my father’s style preferences. Elisabeth Sherman, Teen Vogue, "What I Learned from Dressing Like a Boy Growing Up," 14 June 2018 And while the You-Might-Also-Like functions of sites like YouTube can lead you to a flat-earther’s channel, navigating most major sites without giving it some knowledge of your preferences is like always opening Spotify to the Top 100 playlist. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "How To Make Yourself Less Trackable Online," 18 Apr. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'preference.' 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 preference

1673, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for preference

Middle English preferraunce, from Middle French preferance, from Medieval Latin praeferentia, from Latin praeferent-, praeferens, present participle of praeferre

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Statistics for preference

Last Updated

21 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for preference

The first known use of preference was in 1673

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More Definitions for preference

preference

noun

English Language Learners Definition of preference

: a feeling of liking or wanting one person or thing more than another person or thing
: an advantage that is given to some people or things and not to others
: something that is liked or wanted more than another thing : something that is preferred

preference

noun
pref·​er·​ence | \ ˈpre-fə-rəns How to pronounce preference (audio) , ˈpref-rəns\

Kids Definition of preference

1 : a choosing of or special liking for one person or thing rather than another or others Buyers are showing a preference for small cars.
2 : the power or chance to choose : choice I gave him his preference.
3 : a person or thing that is liked or wanted more than another My preference is to travel by train.

preference

noun
pref·​er·​ence | \ ˈpre-frəns, -fə-rəns How to pronounce preference (audio) \

Legal Definition of preference

1 : the right to prior payment of a debt with preference over the creditors of the heirs or legateesLouisiana Civil Code
2 : the transfer of an insolvent debtor's interest in property to a creditor for an earlier debt that gives the creditor more than the creditor would otherwise receive (as under a bankruptcy settlement)

called also voidable preference

— compare antecedent debt at debt, fraudulent conveyance, general assignment at assignment

Note: Preferences can be voided by a bankruptcy trustee because they diminish the bankruptcy estate out of which other creditors will be paid. Preferences must be made during a period (as 90 days before the date of filing a bankruptcy petition) established by bankruptcy law in order to be voidable. Perfection or grant of a security interest during this period is also a preference. The bankruptcy law states exceptions under which payments to creditors are not voidable preferences.

3 : priority

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Comments on preference

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