pref·​er·​en·​tial | \ˌpre-fə-ˈren(t)-shəl \

Definition of preferential 

1 : showing preference

2 : employing or creating a preference in trade relations

3 : designed to permit expression of preference among candidates a preferential primary

4 : giving preference especially in hiring to union members a preferential shop

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Other Words from preferential

preferentially \ˌpre-​fə-​ˈren(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of preferential in a Sentence

powerful people who demand preferential treatment from politicians

Recent Examples on the Web

Photo: Arthur Bondar for The Wall Street Journal To obtain private funds for the investment program, Mr. Putin has traded the expropriations of the early 2000s for carrots such as tax breaks, preferential loans and concession rights. Anatoly Kurmanaev, WSJ, "U.S. Sanctions Bring Kremlin, Russian Oligarchs Closer Together," 29 Nov. 2018 Countries giving preferential tax deals to big companies — particularly in the tech sector — have been a European Commission priority since 2014, and Vestager ruled in 2016 that Ireland would have to claw back €13 billion in unpaid taxes from Apple. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The fake video era of US politics has arrived on Twitter," 9 Nov. 2018 This process is continuous while the service is running, ensuring the most demanding threads always get preferential time on cores with local memory. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "AMD's Dynamic Local Mode for Threadripper promises almost 50 percent more performance," 5 Oct. 2018 The law already faces opposition from business groups, which could challenge the basis of preferential hiring toward women. Shirin Ghaffary, Recode, "California is officially the first state that will try to require companies like Apple, Facebook and Alphabet to add more women to their boards," 1 Oct. 2018 That investment could be partly offset by federal rehabilitation tax credits, state rehabilitation tax credits, and a preferential property tax freeze that would keep the valuation at the present level for up to 10 years. Bo Emerson, ajc, "Architectural gem rescued by Madison conservancy," 13 July 2018 Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings The county also approved an extension of MSC’s existing Saturday preferential berthing rights, adding Sunday at one of two existing terminals. Chabeli Herrera, miamiherald, "PortMiami’s third new cruise terminal is coming. It’ll fit MSC’s 7,000-passenger ships," 12 July 2018 The prophets, wisdom literature, and gospels extend this preferential option for the most vulnerable. Jonathan L. Walton, Time, "Why Authoritarians Love to Quote This Bible Passage," 22 June 2018 Additionally, South Africa has made reparations to victims of apartheid crimes, and American universities like Georgetown have offered preferential admission to descendants of slaves. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "What if Napoleon Hadn’t Lost Europe and Other Questions of Alternate History," 14 June 2018

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

1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

4 Dec 2018

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The first known use of preferential was in 1849

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English Language Learners Definition of preferential

: giving an advantage to a particular person or group


pref·​e·​ren·​tial | \ˌpre-fə-ˈren-chəl \

Legal Definition of preferential 

1 : of or constituting a preference a preferential transfer

2 : giving preference to union members especially in hiring a preferential shop

3 : showing preference these creditors may obtain preferential treatment

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More from Merriam-Webster on preferential

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with preferential

Spanish Central: Translation of preferential

Nglish: Translation of preferential for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of preferential for Arabic Speakers

Comments on preferential

What made you want to look up preferential? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

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