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[pref-er-uh-buh l, pref-ruh- or, often, pri-fur-] /ˈprɛf ər ə bəl, ˈprɛf rə- or, often, prɪˈfɜr-/
more desirable.
worthy to be preferred.
Origin of preferable
From the French word préfsptérable, dating back to 1640-50. See prefer, -able
Related forms
preferability, preferableness, noun
preferably, adverb
nonpreferability, noun
nonpreferable, adjective
nonpreferableness, noun
nonpreferably, adverb
unpreferable, adjective
unpreferableness, noun
unpreferably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for preferable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Yet preferable, I should say, to the wily and treacherous savages the Americans have been accustomed to fighting.

    The Thorn in the Nest Martha Finley
  • The deepest recess of the forest is preferable to staying here.

  • When she came to go into it in detail, I found that on the whole hers was the preferable course.

    Eliza Barry Pain
  • The question has been raised as to which element is preferable.

  • It was preferable to coaling, as it was cleaner; but the labour was very strenuous.

    Pincher Martin, O.D. H. Taprell Dorling
British Dictionary definitions for preferable


/ˈprɛfərəbəl; ˈprɛfrəbəl/
preferred or more desirable
Derived Forms
preferability, preferableness, noun
Usage note
Since preferable already means more desirable, one should not say something is more preferable or most preferable
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for preferable

1640s, from or on model of French préférable, from préfér (see prefer). OED notes preferrable is better English but has not prevailed. Related: Preferably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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