pres·​er·​va·​tion ˌpre-zər-ˈvā-shən How to pronounce preservation (audio)
: the act, process, or result of preserving something: such as
: 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
: 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

Examples of preservation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The company carried out the Embrace Pantanal project, one of the largest projects in the world in environmental preservation, through the rapid identification of fires. Laura Martins, The Verge, 21 Sep. 2023 In January of this year, UNESCO added the historic center of Odesa to its danger list and ramped up preservation efforts there. Christopher Parker, Smithsonian Magazine, 19 Sep. 2023 The nearly 700-acre site is the latest passion project and preservation play of 21c Museum Hotels founders and native Kentuckians Steve Wilson and Laura Lee Brown. Valerie Rains, Southern Living, 7 Sep. 2023 There are some great trails to explore in the 8,000 or so acres under preservation. Dave Epstein,, 7 Sep. 2023 The photographer created a visual conversation about nature and preservation through his point of view. Vogue, 5 Sep. 2023 The company utilizes advanced extraction methods to ensure the preservation of beneficial compounds while eliminating unwanted impurities. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 31 Aug. 2023 Madeline Whitt, a clerk at the Hy-Klas grocery store in Gower, shrugged when asked if Wilhelmina’s preservation was a miracle. Ruth Graham,, 9 Sep. 2023 The swords were removed and transferred to the Israel Antiquities Authority laboratories for preservation and conservation. Mary Walrath-Holdridge, USA TODAY, 7 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'preservation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near preservation

Cite this Entry

“Preservation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a keeping from injury, loss, or decay

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