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’
    • ‘If patients would prefer a hot breakfast selection they need only inform their ward hostess.’
    • ‘So all the government is doing in this case is enforcing what you would prefer people choose to do on their own.’
    • ‘I much prefer it when other people tell me that than the other way around.’
    • ‘People have become lazy, preferring their favourite programmes to films.’
    • ‘It will ask people if they prefer this new system or the current one of an executive of councillors being in charge.’
    • ‘I think people prefer a resident landlord as opposed to an absentee one.’
    • ‘If people would prefer it in a different format, just drop me a line.’
    • ‘I've always preferred starters to a sweet, unless I fancy all three which isn't often.’
    • ‘The branches, however, proved to prefer approaches that were considerably more conventional.’
    • ‘Many people simply prefer the star and will choose it over the other symbols.’
    • ‘The company would prefer a single supplier who could provide it with chips and boards for the full range of computers.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    like better, 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.’
    • ‘The person in question was a solicitor against whom the Law Society preferred three charges of misconduct.’
    • ‘Jane has been the victim of an unlawful drugs raid although no charges were preferred after it.’
    • ‘A prosecutor has considerable discretion as to what charges he prefers and the trial takes place on those charges.’
    • ‘The Prosecutor, before preferring the charges against the accused, looks for and gathers the evidence.’
    • ‘Trumped-up civil charges were preferred against several prominent ministers.’
    • ‘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.’
    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.