Try Our Apps


Famous Last Words


[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.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for preferably
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • To accomplish this successfully, the cows should be fed immediately before or immediately after milking, preferably after milking.

    The Book of Cheese Charles Thom and Walter Warner Fisk
  • It should not be more than an inch thick and preferably less.

    Health on the Farm H. F. Harris
  • He is, preferably, personally unconscious of sex until the heroine arrives; but he is by no means effeminate.

  • The cathode is preferably formed of the same metal which is to be obtained.

  • The lining should be a shade of green, preferably dark green.

    The Mother and Her Child William S. Sadler
British Dictionary definitions for preferably


/ˈprɛfərəblɪ; ˈprɛfrəblɪ/
ideally; by preference; if one had a choice


/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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for preferably



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
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Difficulty index for preferable

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for preferably

Scrabble Words With Friends

Nearby words for preferably