preserve

1 of 2

verb

pre·​serve pri-ˈzərv How to pronounce preserve (audio)
preserved; preserving

transitive verb

1
: to keep safe from injury, harm, or destruction : protect
2
a
: to keep alive, intact, or free from decay
b
3
a
: to keep or save from decomposition
b
: to can, pickle, or similarly prepare for future use
4
: to keep up and reserve for personal or special use

intransitive verb

1
: to make preserves
2
: to raise and protect game for purposes of sport
3
: to be able to be preserved (as by canning)
preservability noun
preservable adjective
preserver noun

preserve

2 of 2

noun

1
: fruit canned or made into jams or jellies or cooked whole or in large pieces in a syrup so as to keep its shape
often used in plural
2
: an area restricted for the protection and preservation of natural resources (such as animals or plants)
a game preserve for regulated hunting or fishing
nature preserves
3
: something regarded as reserved for certain persons

Example Sentences

Verb The fossil was well preserved. These laws are intended to help preserve our natural resources. They are fighting to preserve their rights as citizens. The peaches are preserved in syrup. Salt can be used to preserve meat. Noun a jar of strawberry preserve Game preserves allow only carefully controlled hunting and fishing. The military was once an all-male preserve. See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Verb
Utah Arts Alliance has joined the effort to preserve Ralphael Plescia’s Christian School on State Street. Palak Jayswal, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Nov. 2022 Peltola, who most recently worked for a commission whose goal is to rebuild salmon in Alaska’s Kuskokwim River, raised concerns with ocean productivity and cited a need to preserve struggling fisheries. Becky Bohrer, ajc, 24 Nov. 2022 Peltola, who most recently worked for a commission whose goal is to rebuild salmon in Alaska’s Kuskokwim River, raised concerns with ocean productivity and cited a need to preserve struggling fisheries. Becky Bohrer, Chicago Tribune, 24 Nov. 2022 Peltola, who most recently worked for a commission whose goal is to rebuild salmon in Alaska’s Kuskokwim River, raised concerns with ocean productivity and cited a need to preserve struggling fisheries. Becky Bohrer, BostonGlobe.com, 23 Nov. 2022 Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais made two diving saves during 14 minutes of stoppage time to preserve a win that shakes up the group. Tim Cooper, Arkansas Online, 23 Nov. 2022 The struggle to preserve such ideals is helped by protecting the sites that enshrine them. Mindy Belz, WSJ, 23 Nov. 2022 Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Alowais made two diving saves during 14 minutes of stoppage time to preserve a win that shakes up the group. Steve Douglas, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Nov. 2022 Ben Roberts have played in four games, the limit to preserve a redshirt. oregonlive, 21 Nov. 2022
Noun
This absolute hidden gem of a waterfall was on land owned privately by a family for generations until 2020, when the land was donated as a nature preserve. Andrea Reeves, The Enquirer, 23 Sep. 2022 Laundrie, who also went missing after her death and was found dead in a nature preserve near his family's Florida home in October 2021, admitted to killing the 22-year-old in a suicide note obtained by Fox News Digital. Michael Ruiz, Fox News, 30 Sep. 2022 Situated around 30 km from Paris in the nature preserve of Bures-sur-Yvette, the institute is cocooned amid trees and greenery. Dhananjay Khadilkar, Ars Technica, 18 July 2022 Connect with nature at a Summer Solstice Drum Circle in a Ventura preserve. Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times, 16 June 2022 Laundrie’s body was found on Oct. 20, 2021, in a nature preserve not far from his Florida home. Wilson Wong, NBC News, 6 May 2022 In October, his parents found an item belonging to him in a nature preserve near their house. Mead Gruver, chicagotribune.com, 21 Jan. 2022 Laundrie was found dead earlier this month in a nature preserve near his parents’ Florida home. Andrea Marks, Rolling Stone, 28 Oct. 2021 The preserve, botanic garden and outdoor discovery center are open to hikers and picnickers daily. Rachel Schnalzer, Los Angeles Times, 27 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'preserve.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Verb

Middle English, from Medieval Latin praeservare, from Late Latin, to observe beforehand, from Latin prae- + servare to keep, guard, observe — more at conserve

First Known Use

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Noun

1698, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of preserve was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near preserve

Cite this Entry

“Preserve.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/preserve. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

preserve

1 of 2 verb
pre·​serve pri-ˈzərv How to pronounce preserve (audio)
preserved; preserving
1
: to keep or save from injury, loss, or ruin : protect
preserve the republic
2
: maintain sense 1, continue
preserve silence
3
: to prepare (as vegetables, fruits, or meats) to be kept for future use
preserver noun

preserve

2 of 2 noun
1
: fruit cooked in sugar or made into jams or jellies
strawberry preserves
2
: an area where natural resources (as fish, game, or trees) are protected

Medical Definition

preserve

transitive verb
pre·​serve pri-ˈzərv How to pronounce preserve (audio)
preserved; preserving
1
: to keep alive, intact, or free from decay
2
: to keep or save from decomposition

Legal Definition

preserve

transitive verb
pre·​serve pri-ˈzərv How to pronounce preserve (audio)
preserved; preserving
1
: to keep safe from injury, harm, or destruction
expenses necessary to preserve the property
2
a
: to keep valid, intact, or in existence (as pending a proceeding)
the right of a trial by jury shall be preserved U.S. Constitution amend. VII
the dismissal of a chapter 7 case…reinstates certain transfers voided or preserved in the case J. H. Williamson
b
: to maintain for use or consideration at a later time especially by keeping a record of
deposed the witness to preserve her testimony
a party has the option of preserving the objection raised J. H. Friedenthal et al.
preservation noun

More from Merriam-Webster on preserve

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ