verb (used with object), pre·served, pre·serv·ing.
  1. to keep alive or in existence; make lasting: to preserve our liberties as free citizens.
  2. to keep safe from harm or injury; protect or spare.
  3. to keep up; maintain: to preserve historical monuments.
  4. to keep possession of; retain: to preserve one's composure.
  5. to prepare (food or any perishable substance) so as to resist decomposition or fermentation.
  6. to prepare (fruit, vegetables, etc.) by cooking with sugar, pickling, canning, or the like.
  7. to maintain and reserve (game, fish, etc.) for continued survival or for private use, as in hunting or fishing.
verb (used without object), pre·served, pre·serv·ing.
  1. to preserve fruit, vegetables, etc.; make preserves.
  2. to maintain a preserve for game or fish, especially for sport.
  1. something that preserves.
  2. that which is preserved.
  3. Usually preserves. fruit, vegetables, etc., prepared by cooking with sugar.
  4. a place set apart for protection and propagation of game or fish, especially for sport.

Origin of preserve

1325–75; Middle English preserven < Medieval Latin praeservāre to guard (Late Latin: to observe), equivalent to Latin prae- pre- + servāre to watch over, keep, preserve, observe
Related formspre·serv·a·ble, adjectivepre·serv·a·bil·i·ty, nounpres·er·va·tion [prez-er-vey-shuhn] /ˌprɛz ərˈveɪ ʃən/, nounpre·serv·er, nounnon·pre·serv·a·ble, adjectivenon·pres·er·va·tion, nounsem·i·pre·served, adjectiveun·pre·serv·a·ble, adjectiveun·pre·served, adjective

Synonyms for preserve

Synonym study

2. See defend.

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

Examples from the Web for preservable

Historical Examples of preservable

British Dictionary definitions for preservable


verb (mainly tr)
  1. to keep safe from danger or harm; protect
  2. to protect from decay or dissolution; maintainto preserve old buildings
  3. to maintain possession of; keep upto preserve a façade of indifference
  4. to prevent from decomposition or chemical change
  5. to prepare (food), as by freezing, drying, or salting, so that it will resist decomposition
  6. to make preserves of (fruit, etc)
  7. to rear and protect (game) in restricted places for hunting or fishing
  8. (intr) to maintain protection and favourable conditions for game in preserves
  1. something that preserves or is preserved
  2. a special area or domainarchaeology is the preserve of specialists
  3. (usually plural) fruit, etc, prepared by cooking with sugar
  4. areas where game is reared for private hunting or fishing
Derived Formspreservable, adjectivepreservability, nounpreservably, adverbpreservation (ˌprɛzəˈveɪʃən), nounpreserver, noun

Word Origin for preserve

C14: via Old French, from Late Latin praeservāre literally: to keep safe in advance, from Latin prae- before + servāre to keep safe
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 preservable



late 14c., "keep safe," from Anglo-French preservare, Old French preserver, from Medieval Latin preservare "keep, preserve," from Late Latin praeservare "guard beforehand," from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + servare "to keep safe" (see observe). As a treatment of fruit, etc., 1570s; of organic bodies from 1610s. Related: Preserved; preserving.



"fruit preserved with sugar," c.1600, from preserve (v.). Earlier it meant "a preservative" (1550s). Sense of "protected place for animals or plants" (a sense more properly belonging to conserve) is from 1807.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper