pre·​fer·​ment | \ pri-ˈfər-mənt How to pronounce preferment (audio) \

Definition of preferment

1a : advancement or promotion in dignity, office, or station
b : a position or office of honor or profit
2 : priority or seniority in right especially to receive payment or to purchase property on equal terms with others
3 : the act of bringing forward preferment of charges

Examples of preferment in a Sentence

He has hopes for preferment. anticipated her preferment to a better-paying position within the company
Recent Examples on the Web Government patronage, rather than innovation and the service of one’s neighbor, becomes the path to preferment, and innovation is consequently replaced by lobbying and supplication for special status. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, 12 Aug. 2021 Working-class Protestants are watching the new global economy select their old tribal enemies for preferment while they themselves are left behind. Cameron Hilditch, National Review, 15 Apr. 2021 Why should the government give yet another preferment to investment in upgrading the human capital of the affluent, over the capital investments of other entrepreneurs and workers? Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, 21 Nov. 2020 Think of a preferment like a head start towards fermentation. Sarah Jampel, Bon Appétit, 11 Oct. 2020 MPs’ natural wish to support their prime minister, their own ambitions for preferment and the whips’ cruel ways all make for a reluctance to rock the boat. The Economist, 21 June 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for preferment

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The first known use of preferment was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near preferment

preferential voting



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Cite this Entry

“Preferment.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for preferment



English Language Learners Definition of preferment

: the act of moving someone to a higher or more important position or rank in an organization


pre·​fer·​ment | \ pri-ˈfər-mənt How to pronounce preferment (audio) \

Legal Definition of preferment

1 : advancement or promotion in office or station
2 : the act of preferring (as charges) without preferment of allegations


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