[ pree-luhvd ]
/ priˈlʌvd /
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adjective Informal.
previously used or owned; secondhand.
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Origin of preloved

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does preloved mean?

Preloved is an informal word that describes an item that was previously owned.

Preloved is a euphemism, which is a milder way to say something to make it less harsh or blunt. Preloved is typically used to describe something for sale to avoid calling it used or secondhand.

Example: I prefer buying preloved dishes—they just have more character than the cheap new stuff they sell these days.

Where does preloved come from?

The first record of preloved comes from the early 1970s. Before preloved there was preowned, which has been in use since at least the 1930s. Although preowned can be seen as a euphemism for used (you rarely see used cars anymore—they are all preowned), it is still fairly straightforward: the item was, in fact, owned previously.

Preloved, though, goes so far as to tie the sentimental feelings of the previous owner to the item. It wasn’t just used, it was loved. This implies that it was taken care of and maintained (perhaps so that one day, someone would love it again). It is most often used to describe things for sale in thrift shops or secondhand stores, such as clothing and books.

Although preloved is almost always used to describe something that’s for sale, it could also be applied to something that is being given away, such as hand-me-down clothing, as in Do you want these shirts that don’t fit me anymore? They’re preloved, but they’re in good condition.

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What are some synonyms for preloved?

What are some words that share a root or word element with preloved?


What are some words that often get used in discussing preloved?



How is preloved used in real life?

Preloved is almost always used to describe something that’s for sale—especially in a way that makes it sound like it’s still in good condition.



Try using preloved!

Is preloved used correctly in the following sentence?

He preloved these clothes before he sold them.

British Dictionary definitions for preloved

/ (ˈpriːˌlʌvd) /

Australian informal previously owned or used; second-hand
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