pres·​er·​va·​tion | \ ˌpre-zər-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce preservation (audio) \

Definition of preservation

: the act, process, or result of preserving something: such as
a : the activity or process of keeping something valued alive, intact, or free from damage or decay preservation of state parks/monuments preservation of an old tradition The special emphasis of recent years on preservation continued in 1988. More than 8,000 brittle volumes (1.5 million pages) were committed to microfilm; an additional 777 rare books, manuscripts, and historical films received special conservation treatment.Library and Book Trade Almanac These and so many lesser red flags seem finally to be shifting public interest toward the preservation of wildlife and natural habitats.— E. Annie Proulx
b : the preparation of food for future use (as by canning, pickling, or freezing) to prevent spoilage the use of salt in the preservation of meat In the years following the first Earth Day in 1970, a contingent of Americans insisted on developing pesticide-free systems of farming and anti-chemical methods of food preservation and preparation.— Tibbett L. Speer

First Known Use of preservation

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best can openers.

Learn More About preservation

Time Traveler for preservation

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near preservation




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for preservation

Cite this Entry

“Preservation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for preservation


pres·​er·​va·​tion | \ ˌpre-zər-ˈvā-shən \

Kids Definition of preservation

: the effort of keeping from injury, loss, or decay wildlife preservation preservation of historic buildings


Test Your Vocabulary

Great Words for Scrabble

  • scrabble tiles that read scrabble quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!