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 preferential (audio) \ adverb

Examples of preferential in a Sentence

powerful people who demand preferential treatment from politicians
Recent Examples on the Web Another is that the tax code provides preferential treatment for income from wealth over income from work. Chuck Collins For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 14 June 2021 The French Competitive Authority charged Google with manipulating its control over the ad exchange to give preferential treatment to its ad supply over that of competitors. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, 8 June 2021 But a worsening economic climate could push more Cubans to make the desperate voyage, despite having lost their preferential status. Alta Spells And Alaa Elassar, CNN, 30 May 2021 Anger over elites getting preferential treatment isn’t limited to Southeast Asia, however. Washington Post, 28 May 2021 Many lawmakers feel the initiative was an end-run around the legislature and don’t want to give the casinos – which have a functional monopoly on gambling in the state – preferential treatment in sports betting. cleveland, 21 May 2021 There are complaints of preferential treatment of major arts groups — including Arena Stage, Studio Theatre and the National Building Museum — at the expense of smaller groups and organizations of color. Washington Post, 20 May 2021 These are alarming allegations that the rescue plan was racially segregated, with white contractors obviously receiving preferential treatment. Andrew Meldrum, Star Tribune, 14 May 2021 According to court documents, Wong helped arrange overseas trips for Nuru and former San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Harlan Kelly in exchange for preferential treatment, including inside information on city contracts. Michael Williams, San Francisco Chronicle, 13 May 2021

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

17 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Preferential.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for preferential



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

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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