Definition of prefer
1 : to promote or advance to a rank or position
2 : to like better or best <prefers sports to reading> <prefers to watch TV>
3 : to give (a creditor) priority
4 archaic : to put or set forward or before someone : recommend
5 : to bring or lay against someone <won't prefer charges>
6 : to bring forward or lay before one for consideration
Examples of prefer in a sentence
Some people like vanilla ice cream, but I prefer chocolate.
She tends to prefer small college campuses.
I prefer this dictionary because of its helpful examples.
Which one is the preferred alternative?
What is the preferred pronunciation of her name?
Origin and Etymology of prefer
Middle English preferren, from Anglo-French preferrer, from Latin praeferre to put before, prefer, from prae- + ferre to carry — more at bear
First Known Use: 14th century
PREFER Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of prefer for English Language Learners
: to like (someone or something) better than someone or something else
law : to make (a charge) against someone in a court of law
PREFER Defined for Kids
Definition of prefer for Students
: to like better than another or others <She prefers chocolate ice cream.>
Word Root of prefer
The Latin word ferre, meaning “to carry” or “to bring,” gives us the root fer. Words from the Latin ferre have something to do with carrying. To transfer is to carry across from one person, place, or condition to another. To confer is to bring something to someone in order to present it. To offer is to bring forth for another to accept or reject. To prefer is to carry a stronger liking for one over another.
Legal Definition of prefer
1 : to give (a creditor or debt) priority or preference <any preferred charges such as child support or alimony — In re Smiley, 427 P.2d 179 (1967)>
2 : to bring forward for determination; especially : to bring (a charge) against someone <the various means by which a grand jury might prefer charges — State v. Byrd, 399 S.E.2d 267 (1990)>
Seen and Heard
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