Definition of prefer in English:



  • 1Like (one thing or person) better than another or others; tend to choose.

    ‘I prefer Venice to Rome’
    with infinitive ‘I would prefer to discuss the matter in private’
    with clause ‘Val would presumably prefer that you didn't get arrested’
    • ‘Many people simply prefer the star and will choose it over the other symbols.’
    • ‘I think people prefer a resident landlord as opposed to an absentee one.’
    • ‘So all the government is doing in this case is enforcing what you would prefer people choose to do on their own.’
    • ‘Mimi had three cats and I'm certain she preferred them to most people.’
    • ‘When and if our country becomes a republic it will be in the form and with the structures preferred by the people.’
    • ‘He confesses to another, personal reason for preferring the incumbent.’
    • ‘The branches, however, proved to prefer approaches that were considerably more conventional.’
    • ‘If patients would prefer a hot breakfast selection they need only inform their ward hostess.’
    • ‘It will ask people if they prefer this new system or the current one of an executive of councillors being in charge.’
    • ‘If people would prefer it in a different format, just drop me a line.’
    • ‘I much prefer it when other people tell me that than the other way around.’
    • ‘The company would prefer a single supplier who could provide it with chips and boards for the full range of computers.’
    • ‘People have become lazy, preferring their favourite programmes to films.’
    • ‘I've always preferred starters to a sweet, unless I fancy all three which isn't often.’
    • ‘Couples preferring a civil ceremony are increasingly choosing an approved location such as a hotel or stately home with a licence rather than a register office.’
    like better, would rather, would rather have, would sooner, would sooner have, favour, be more partial to, incline towards, lean towards, think preferable
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  • 2formal Submit (a charge or a piece of information) for consideration.

    ‘the police will prefer charges’
    • ‘Following a lengthy hearing the appellant was committed for trial and the present indictment was preferred.’
    • ‘Jane has been the victim of an unlawful drugs raid although no charges were preferred after it.’
    • ‘They look at the stupid action on the part of the police, in preferring those charges against Mr Ardern, and ask just what planet these people are on.’
    • ‘A prosecutor has considerable discretion as to what charges he prefers and the trial takes place on those charges.’
    • ‘Trumped-up civil charges were preferred against several prominent ministers.’
    • ‘The Prosecutor, before preferring the charges against the accused, looks for and gathers the evidence.’
    • ‘The person in question was a solicitor against whom the Law Society preferred three charges of misconduct.’
    bring, press, file, lodge, tender, present, place, lay, submit, put forward, proffer, offer, propose
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  • 3archaic Promote or advance (someone) to a prestigious position.

    ‘he was eventually preferred to the bishopric of Durham’
    promote, upgrade, advance, raise, move up, elevate, aggrandize
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Late Middle English: from Old French preferer, from Latin praeferre, from prae ‘before’ + ferre ‘to bear, carry’.