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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Knowing this history makes the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center an even more special place; it’s operated by the 19 sovereign Pueblos of New Mexico, and is dedicated to the preservation of, and advocacy for, Indigenous Pueblo culture. Eric See, Bon Appétit, 6 Feb. 2023 These actions mark either a growing recognition of the seriousness of the problem, an evolving sense of self-preservation among police departments, or both. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, 31 Jan. 2023 Every year, 25 films are added to the National Film Registry for preservation and posterity, selected based on their cultural legacy within American film history. Ella Feldman, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Dec. 2022 The organization participates in educational talks, community preservation, genealogical and historical research, and local and national tours. Dallas News, 7 Dec. 2022 These bonds fund repairs to its aging network of highways, bridges and rail lines, capital projects at state colleges and universities, municipal school construction, open space and farmland preservation, and various small community projects. Keith M. Phaneuf, Hartford Courant, 23 Nov. 2022 What's maybe good for his ranch might be good for all the rest of the ranches in Montana as well — the preservation of a way of life, less expansion. Lynn Elber, Arkansas Online, 15 Nov. 2022 As such, much of the motivation to respond has been driven by non-market considerations such as equity, the preservation of the natural world, and other benefits that are hard to price. David Schimel, Fortune, 15 Nov. 2022 The purpose of the Virgil Thomson Foundation is to further and promote the performance, preservation, dissemination and public appreciation of serious music in general and the music and writings of Virgil Thomson in particular. Paul Grein, Billboard, 27 Oct. 2022 See More

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

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 26 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a keeping from injury, loss, or decay

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