[pref-uh-ren-shuh l]
See more synonyms for preferential on
  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.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for preferentially

either, conversely, preferentially

Examples from the Web for preferentially

Historical Examples of preferentially

  • Preferentially, too, he was not inclined to embark in matrimony.


    Bertram Mitford

  • Wherever you like, but preferentially in an unfrequented quarter.

    The Barber of Paris

    Charles Paul de Kock

British Dictionary definitions for preferentially


  1. showing or resulting from preference
  2. giving, receiving, or originating from preference in international trade
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 preferentially



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper