[ pri-zurv ]
See synonyms for: preservepreservedpreservespreserving on

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.

  1. to keep up; maintain: to preserve historical monuments.

  2. to keep possession of; retain: to preserve one's composure.

  3. to prepare (food or any perishable substance) so as to resist decomposition or fermentation.

  4. to prepare (fruit, vegetables, etc.) by cooking with sugar, pickling, canning, or the like.

  5. 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.

  1. Usually preserves. fruit, vegetables, etc., prepared by cooking with sugar.

  2. a place set apart for protection and propagation of game or fish, especially for sport.

Origin of preserve

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English preserven, from Medieval Latin praeservāre “to guard” (Late Latin: “to observe”), equivalent to Latin prae- prefix meaning “before, prior to, in advance” (see pre-) + servāre “to watch over, keep, preserve, observe”

synonym study For preserve

2. See defend.

Other words for preserve

Opposites for preserve

Other words from preserve

  • pre·serv·a·ble, adjective
  • pre·serv·a·bil·i·ty [pri-zur-vuh-bil-i-tee], /prɪˌzɜr vəˈbɪl ɪ ti/, noun
  • pres·er·va·tion [prez-er-vey-shuhn], /ˌprɛz ərˈveɪ ʃən/, noun
  • pre·serv·er, noun
  • non·pre·serv·a·ble, adjective
  • un·pre·serv·a·ble, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use preserve in a sentence

  • And then, before trusting herself down, she threw her arms around her young preserver's neck, and embraced him tenderly.

  • "Take me to see Fifine's preserver," she said in a commanding voice.

    Mary Gray | Katharine Tynan
  • "Guess we'll have to get a life preserver for you," chuckled Big-foot.

    The Pony Rider Boys in Texas | Frank Gee Patchin
  • That the great preserver of public morals might not be delayed in delivery, Alfred essayed to work the press.

    Watch Yourself Go By | Al. G. Field

British Dictionary definitions for preserve


/ (prɪˈzɜːv) /

verb(mainly tr)
  1. to keep safe from danger or harm; protect

  2. to protect from decay or dissolution; maintain: to preserve old buildings

  1. to maintain possession of; keep up: to preserve a façade of indifference

  2. to prevent from decomposition or chemical change

  3. to prepare (food), as by freezing, drying, or salting, so that it will resist decomposition

  4. to make preserves of (fruit, etc)

  5. to rear and protect (game) in restricted places for hunting or fishing

  6. (intr) to maintain protection and favourable conditions for game in preserves

  1. something that preserves or is preserved

  2. a special area or domain: archaeology is the preserve of specialists

  1. (usually plural) fruit, etc, prepared by cooking with sugar

  2. areas where game is reared for private hunting or fishing

Origin of preserve

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

Derived forms of preserve

  • preservable, adjective
  • preservability, noun
  • preservably, adverb
  • preservation (ˌprɛzəˈveɪʃən), noun
  • preserver, 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