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.


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. 2019

Examples from the Web for preserver

Contemporary Examples of preserver

Historical Examples of preserver

  • The father and mother received me as their preserver, and they may have been sincere.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • When he saw me he threw his arms about my neck, calling me his preserver.

    The Memoires of Casanova, Complete

    Jacques Casanova de Seingalt

  • By the best of rights—that of her preserver, hoping soon to be her lover.

    The Midnight Queen

    May Agnes Fleming

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

    Mary Gray

    Katharine Tynan

  • With a sigh she opened her eyes and turned them in gratitude upon her preserver.

    Rabbi and Priest

    Milton Goldsmith

British Dictionary definitions for preserver


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 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 preserver



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