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

Other Words from preferential

preferentially \ ˌpre-​fə-​ˈren(t)-​sh(ə-​)lē How to pronounce preferential (audio) \ adverb

Examples of preferential in a Sentence

powerful people who demand preferential treatment from politicians
Recent Examples on the Web Hosts supplying generous storage and speed were given preferential treatment over those restricting clients’ storage or bandwidth. The Salt Lake Tribune, 21 July 2022 The deal, which was negotiated behind closed doors between Kaiser and the Newsom administration, was first made public in February, prompting critics to argue that the state was giving preferential treatment to a generous supporter of the governor. Los Angeles Times, 1 July 2022 Army officials countered that McCarthy had sought preferential treatment for an aide recently drafted into the armed forces. Joel Mathis, The Week, 9 June 2022 Organizers of the lecture and music event appear to have run afoul of IRS rules that prohibit tax-exempt nonprofits from giving any political candidate preferential treatment by giving Johnson an unannounced spot in the event lineup Saturday. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, 1 June 2022 Her preferential treatment — a result of the burgeoning crush the foreman has on her — is the subject of gossip in the back. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 May 2022 And supply chain reports routinely show that parts makers are ready to offer Apple preferential treatment and meet all its requirements. Chris Smith, BGR, 25 May 2022 Our writers and editors are prohibited from giving preferential treatment to any outside resource (company, publication, video, affiliate, website) based on their relationship with the person or company who authors or owns that resource. People Staff,, 12 May 2022 Having favorites usually involves preferential treatment, attention, giving or withholding love, etc. Carolyn Hax, Washington Post, 29 June 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of preferential

1849, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for preferential

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The first known use of preferential was in 1849

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Dictionary Entries Near preferential



preferential ballot

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Last Updated

4 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Preferential.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for preferential


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

More from Merriam-Webster on preferential

Nglish: Translation of preferential for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of preferential for Arabic Speakers


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