[ pri-fur ]
See synonyms for: preferpreferredpreferring on

verb (used with object),pre·ferred, pre·fer·ring.
  1. to set or hold before or above other persons or things in estimation; like better; choose rather than: to prefer beef to chicken.

  2. Law. to give priority, as to one creditor over another.

  1. to put forward or present (a statement, suit, charge, etc.) for consideration or sanction.

  2. to put forward or advance, as in rank or office; promote: to be preferred for advancement.

verb (used without object)
  1. to wish or feel inclined: For this stir-fry you can skip the cashews if you prefer.

Origin of prefer

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English preferren, prefer(re), from Anglo-French, Old French preferer, from Latin praeferre “to bear before, set before, prefer,” equivalent to prae- pre- + ferre to bear1

synonym study For prefer

1. See choose.

Other words for prefer

Opposites for prefer

Other words from prefer

  • pre·fer·red·ly [pri-fur-id-lee, -furd-lee], /prɪˈfɜr ɪd li, -ˈfɜrd li/, adverb
  • pre·fer·red·ness, noun
  • pre·fer·rer, noun
  • un·pre·ferred, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use prefer in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for prefer


/ (prɪˈfɜː) /

verb-fers, -ferring or -ferred
  1. (when tr, may take a clause as object or an infinitive) to like better or value more highly: I prefer to stand

  2. law to give preference, esp to one creditor over others

  1. (esp of the police) to put (charges) before a court, judge, magistrate, etc, for consideration and judgment

  2. (tr; often passive) to advance in rank over another or others; promote

Origin of prefer

C14: from Latin praeferre to carry in front, prefer, from prae in front + ferre to bear

usage For prefer

Normally, to is used after prefer and preferable, not than: I prefer Brahms to Tchaikovsky; a small income is preferable to no income at all . However, than or rather than should be used to link infinitives: I prefer to walk than/rather than to catch the train

Derived forms of prefer

  • preferrer, noun

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