verb (used with object), pre·served, pre·serv·ing.

verb (used without object), pre·served, pre·serv·ing.

to preserve fruit, vegetables, etc.; make preserves.
to maintain a preserve for game or fish, especially for sport.


Nearby words

  1. presentment,
  2. presents,
  3. preservation,
  4. preservationist,
  5. preservative,
  6. preserving,
  7. preset,
  8. preset board,
  9. preshave,
  10. preshrink

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 forms

Synonym study

2. See defend. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for preserve

British Dictionary definitions for preserve


verb (mainly tr)

to keep safe from danger or harm; protect
to protect from decay or dissolution; maintainto preserve old buildings
to maintain possession of; keep upto preserve a façade of indifference
to prevent from decomposition or chemical change
to prepare (food), as by freezing, drying, or salting, so that it will resist decomposition
to make preserves of (fruit, etc)
to rear and protect (game) in restricted places for hunting or fishing
(intr) to maintain protection and favourable conditions for game in preserves


something that preserves or is preserved
a special area or domainarchaeology is the preserve of specialists
(usually plural) fruit, etc, prepared by cooking with sugar
areas where game is reared for private hunting or fishing
Derived Forms

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 preserve
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper