pref·​er·​en·​tial | \ ˌpre-fə-ˈren(t)-shəl How to pronounce preferential (audio) \

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 How to pronounce preferentially (audio) \ adverb

Examples of preferential in a Sentence

powerful people who demand preferential treatment from politicians
Recent Examples on the Web The European Commission will lay out a menu of options to counteract forms of state subsidy including tax breaks, capital injections by governments, debt relief and preferential financing terms. Aoife White,, "EU Outlines New Powers to Protect Firms From Chinese Takeovers," 23 June 2020 Bilateral free currency exchange, preferential customs treatment and visa-free travel have made Hong Kong a center for American commerce in the region. Mary E. Lovely For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, "Trump's removal of Hong Kong's special status hurts the US more than China," 22 June 2020 Proponents of the bill said the governor is giving restaurants preferential treatment over bars. Nyamekye Daniel, Washington Examiner, "Cooper vetoes bill to reopen North Carolina bars, gyms," 22 June 2020 The discrimination complaints, which were first reported by The Star Tribune, were the latest instance in which correctional officials have been accused of giving preferential treatment to a white inmate., "Jail allowed only white staff to guard ex-officer charged with killing George Floyd," 21 June 2020 Pompeo has previously told Congress that Hong Kong could no longer be regarded as autonomous from mainland China, setting the stage for the likely removal of preferential trade concessions. NBC News, "China unveils details of national security law with sweeping new powers over Hong Kong," 28 May 2020 This would also encourage preferential use of alternative nonlethal agents when a citizen is posing a possible nonlethal threat to the officers. Tiffany Chioma Anaebere, Scientific American, "Policing Can Take a Lesson from Health Care," 10 June 2020 Trump and Pompeo last week said Hong Kong is no longer autonomous and will be stripped of its preferential trade and commercial status. Washington Post, "Amid domestic US unrest, Pompeo hits China over Tiananmen," 2 June 2020 But lawmakers also are expected to question whether some of those have been afforded preferential treatment. Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY, "Federal prisons under national lockdown amid George Floyd protests, most severe restrictions in 25 years," 2 June 2020

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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Time Traveler for preferential

Time Traveler

The first known use of preferential was in 1849

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Statistics for preferential

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Preferential.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for preferential


How to pronounce preferential (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of preferential

: giving an advantage to a particular person or group


pref·​e·​ren·​tial | \ ˌpre-fə-ˈren-chəl How to pronounce preferential (audio) \

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

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