• synonyms


[pref-uh-ren-shuh l]
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  1. of, relating to, or of the nature of preference: preferential policies.
  2. showing or giving preference: a preferential hiring system.
  3. receiving or enjoying preference, as a country in trade relations; favored.
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Origin of preferential

1840–50; < Medieval Latin praeferenti(a) preference + -al1
Related formspref·er·en·tial·ism, nounpref·er·en·tial·ist, nounpref·er·en·tial·ly, adverbnon·pref·er·en·tial, adjectivenon·pref·er·en·tial·ly, adverbnon·pref·er·en·tial·ism, nounqua·si-pref·er·en·tial, adjectivequa·si-pref·er·en·tial·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

advantageous, preferred, favorite, special

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British Dictionary definitions for preferential


  1. showing or resulting from preference
  2. giving, receiving, or originating from preference in international trade
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Derived Formspreferentiality (ˌprɛfəˌrɛnʃɪˈælɪtɪ), nounpreferentially, adverb
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

Word Origin and History for preferential


1805, from Medieval Latin preferentia, from Latin praeferre (see prefer) + -al (1).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper