Definition of preserve in English:



[with object]
  • 1Maintain (something) in its original or existing state.

    ‘all records of the past were zealously preserved’
    • ‘Others have argued that an obsession with preserving the past leads to an inability to think in a broader economic context.’
    • ‘After the Royal Wedding in 1981 I even preserved the commemoration milk bottle tops for posterity.’
    • ‘The 218 flats are arranged in three blocks, set back from the road to preserve an existing belt of trees and minimise noise disturbance.’
    • ‘The museum opened in 1983 to pay tribute to the commitment of past firefighters and to preserve historic artefacts.’
    • ‘New buildings should preserve the existing environment while applying the latest science and materials.’
    • ‘Limit your aerobic activity to three or four times a week, and not more than 40 minutes a session, if you want to preserve your existing muscle mass.’
    • ‘In the past, he says, too much time and effort has been expended on maintaining and preserving bricks and mortar.’
    • ‘The place is immaculately preserved and frozen in time - somewhere in the early 20th century - and has been used as a film location.’
    • ‘With an already existing building the challenge is to personalize and humanize the existing spaces and to preserve those spaces that enhance community.’
    • ‘There is, however, enough money available to maintain and preserve the mill in good working order.’
    • ‘Should we freeze the site to preserve it for the historical record?’
    • ‘The record office provides a window on Wiltshire and Swindon's past by preserving many thousands of documents produced by individuals and organisations in their day-to-day lives down the centuries.’
    • ‘That Act gave the Corporation orders to maintain, improve and preserve the port.’
    • ‘You may, in the past, have preserved important letters - but how many emails from five years ago have you kept?’
    • ‘But as the industrial towns doubled and redoubled in size, the need for action to provide open spaces and to preserve existing commons became obvious.’
    • ‘The ticket income is far from enough for them to maintain and preserve the gardens.’
    • ‘It is a time not only to preserve the existing buildings but enhance the character of Bradford and provide complementary new architecture.’
    • ‘The manner in which she looked after the roadside near her home was a credit to a woman who took tremendous pride and satisfaction in maintaining and preserving our environment.’
    • ‘These monasteries preserved the cultural riches of Greece and Rome, as well as the growing wisdom accumulated by the Church herself.’
    • ‘What about the reverse situation, where the public wants to preserve an existing building rather than require the inclusion of certain aesthetic features in new ones?’
    conserve, protect, maintain, care for, take care of, look after, save, safeguard, keep
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    1. 1.1 Retain (a condition or state of affairs)
      ‘a fight to preserve local democracy’
      • ‘Existing rights are preserved by Section 55 (inserting Section 36A).’
      • ‘Radio New Zealand is about maintaining and preserving our culture, our nation, and our society.’
      • ‘Yet, as after the First World War, there were also strong forces at work to preserve traditions and existing interests.’
      • ‘I mean, historically, universities fought very hard to preserve their independence and autonomy.’
      • ‘The countries are not necessarily members of the EU, but work together to promote the interests of journalists involved in European affairs as well as preserving the freedom of the press.’
      • ‘The Commissions' draft bill aims to preserve the existing level of consumer protection in a single, clear and accessible statute, with guidelines on how to decide whether a contract term is unfair.’
      • ‘Even during the Civil War, when the Democrats were fighting to preserve slavery, limits were observed.’
      • ‘Fortunately, the idea of doing everything possible to preserve existing jobs was rejected.’
      • ‘The film will be a tribute dedicated to all American soldiers who have fought to preserve our freedoms and liberties here in America.’
      • ‘Clark's vision was of ‘an indestructible union of indestructible states’ that preserved the autonomy of local regional life.’
      • ‘The 2001 Election preserved this state of affairs, and has probably made Labour's first two terms much easier.’
      • ‘German aggression against Poland, the USSR, France, and Britain caused him to link the survival of democracy with preserving religious liberty.’
      • ‘They walked away from the fight to preserve their purity.’
      • ‘Scots women fought to preserve personal freedom and equality.’
      • ‘Apart from that, financial stability had been preserved and conditions for growth of 5.3 per cent in the coming year had been created.’
      • ‘In this situation, it seems to me to be even more important to preserve the existing relationship between the stables and the surrounding agricultural land.’
      • ‘Conquering new markets while preserving existing ones threatens brand loyalty.’
      • ‘Both men decided to use their position of power to stage a demonstration that stirred the intense passion of a large group of supporters and made them feel deeply invested in preserving the new state of affairs.’
      • ‘His purpose in producing these was to preserve the existing structure of states in Germany and to confirm the security of Protestants in Germany.’
      • ‘One problem is that the system is geared toward preserving existing businesses while tying up new competitors with bureaucracy.’
      continue, conserve, keep up, keep alive, keep going, maintain, continue with, uphold, sustain, prolong, perpetuate
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    2. 1.2 Maintain or keep alive (a memory or quality)
      ‘the film has preserved all the qualities of the novel’
      • ‘Studies into how our brains retain information show that memories are stored and preserved along with the context in which they are experienced.’
      • ‘The national monument is designed to resist age and to preserve the memory of its past, present, and future citizens.’
      • ‘Even today it's still a shock to see the insignia on the headstones in this context - sixty years of war films have preserved its sense of menace.’
      • ‘Research has shown that minutes, hours or days after an experience, memory preserves a relatively detailed record, allowing us to reproduce the past with reasonable if not perfect accuracy.’
      • ‘Brady, a Holocaust survivor, has become an international speaker dedicated to preserving the memory of his sister by sharing the incredible story behind Hana's Suitcase.’
      • ‘Language always helps its people to have a sense of continuity with their own past, the dreams and achievements of a people through history that have been preserved as memory.’
      • ‘It is wonderful how Rose has developed this resource and has preserved the memory of these bygone days.’
      • ‘It is not just memory that he is preserving, it is the transcendent moments in which what has been lost is, if only for a moment, restored.’
      • ‘Robert Clary, also a concentration camp survivor, talks about his work in preserving Holocaust memories during his commentary.’
      • ‘How can western educators help preserve threatened languages?’
      • ‘For Roach social memories are transmitted and preserved through bodily performances that accompany forms of travel, departure, and displacement.’
      • ‘This version is razor sharp, virtually flawless, preserving the film's extraordinary clarity and textured darkness.’
      • ‘This marked the end of Diamant's short life with Kafka, but she would spend the rest of her days preserving his memory.’
    3. 1.3 Keep safe from harm or injury.
      ‘a place for preserving endangered species’
      • ‘The fishermen along this coast believe that if their wives are faithful and perform the rituals, they will be preserved from harm.’
      • ‘There is a strong possibility that cloning could be used to help preserve Australian mammals.’
      • ‘Such would preserve the existing ecology and prevent further development of residences and/or services.’
      • ‘The critical factor in preserving plant species diversity will be developing public support for natural areas in parks.’
      • ‘It revealed that courses are saving water, using less chemicals, and preserving more wildlife area.’
      • ‘These provisions can be applied to unlisted species to preserve particular national fauna.’
      • ‘Indeed, environmentally desirable goods sometimes clash one with another - measures to preserve one rare species might endanger another.’
      • ‘The interesting economic questions concern the marginal value of biodiversity itself and the benefits of preserving a particular marginal species or community.’
      • ‘They form the Coorong National Park, an area of national significance, featuring on the Register of the National Estate as an area that must be preserved for all time.’
      • ‘To preserve Wadi Rum's pristine natural beauty, the Jordanian government has now thrown the protective screen of national park status around the entire area.’
      • ‘But cloning proponents counter that not taking action to preserve or restore species is also playing God.’
      • ‘But the truth is, this area is designed more to preserve and display species than it is to educate people about them.’
      • ‘The WWF scientist says the conservation record of the U.S. doesn't suggest it's a great place for preserving big, endangered mammals.’
      • ‘But McCormick knows he can't buy enough land to preserve all the critical species on earth.’
      • ‘But they also are charged with preserving native species within the boundaries of their parks and I guess they're pretty keen to look after purebred dingoes and not hybrids.’
      • ‘For the first time, natural areas are being preserved in advance of development in a unique project unfolding on Canada's Arctic shores.’
      • ‘This supplements the 20,000 species already preserved on the site.’
      • ‘Rwanda held a traditional naming ceremony for some of its rare mountain gorillas on Saturday in an effort to attract tourism and help to preserve one of the world's most endangered species.’
      guard, protect, keep, defend, safeguard, secure, shelter, shield, screen, watch over
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    4. 1.4 Keep (game or an area where game is found) undisturbed to allow private hunting or shooting.
      • ‘The intent was to redirect some of the hunters' energy from shooting game to caring for it, thereby preserving enough game to satisfy increasing numbers of hunters.’
      • ‘Another point is that there is regional variation which we see as rather important, so, for example, you see that preserving game stock is different in different places.’
      • ‘It's my opinion that some of our public land should be preserved as game preserves.’
      • ‘Persons found in pursuit of game in the preserved areas will be prosecuted.’
  • 2Treat (food) to prevent its decomposition.

    ‘freezing and canning can be reliable methods of preserving foods’
    • ‘Nearly all food can be preserved as we have noticed in the major retail shops which stock for instance imported bottled mango chunks all year round.’
    • ‘Before the turn of the twentieth century, food was preserved in the springhouse.’
    • ‘Systems of drying and preserving food were researched and refined.’
    • ‘It is used also in preserving food; pork or fish may be preserved in brine.’
    • ‘This is even more true in the hot climate of South Asia, and salt is also vital for preserving food if you don't have refrigeration.’
    • ‘Cooks have been wielding spices for centuries, from preserving foods with them to masking smells and flavors in meats that were less than fresh.’
    • ‘Candied ginger is ANOTHER preserved food; it's what sushi-eaters developed in Japan to keep their sushi fragrant.’
    • ‘I am passionate about food, my particular interests in my pub being both traditional English fare and the methods used for preserving food and enhancing its flavour.’
    • ‘Salting and smoking had long been known as methods for preserving foods over extended periods of time.’
    • ‘Her gifts of food were an expression of her love - whether she grew it, baked it, pickled or preserved it, we were all to share it.’
    • ‘Even though sugar helps preserve jellies and jams, molds can grow on the surface of these products.’
    • ‘The star rating indicates how cold the unit can be set and will indicate how long various foods can be preserved.’
    • ‘When I lived in California, land of eternal sunshine, preserving food by drying was virtually effortless.’
    • ‘Stemming from the Latin word marinus, or marine, the word refers to the seawater used to preserve food before the advent of refrigeration.’
    • ‘European airlines are very particular about hygiene and insist that food be preserved in accordance with the cold chain method.’
    • ‘So, in order to preserve the cake, they doused it in the food sterilizer of choice… brandy.’
    • ‘Ways in which fresh food can be preserved for longer will also be examined during this experiment and, if successful, used on Earth.’
    • ‘Every cottager kept a pig, which was killed in autumn and preserved to provide food through winter.’
    • ‘Women preserved as much food as possible during the summer.’
    • ‘Hurricane victims can use ice to refrigerate food, preserve medicine, and cool off in the summer heat.’
    conserve, bottle, tin, can, pot, chill, freeze, freeze-dry, quick-freeze, dry, desiccate, dehydrate
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    1. 2.1 Prepare (fruit) for long-term storage by boiling it with sugar.
      ‘she canned the vegetables and preserved the fruit from the garden’
      • ‘There's no better fruit preserve I know of - and you could be enjoying the very first jar just a few hours from now.’
      • ‘Often these fruits are preserved after the harvest, providing a constant supply of compote year round.’
      • ‘The Victorians adored sweets and ate far more fruit preserves than we do today.’
      • ‘The nuts and preserved fruit were wrapped in a light and crisp crust, but it seemed a little too sweet after such a meaty main course.’
      • ‘They all consist of fruits preserved mostly by means of sugar and they are thickened or jellied to some extent.’


  • 1mass noun A foodstuff made with fruit preserved in sugar, such as jam or marmalade.

    ‘a jar of cherry preserve’
    count noun ‘home-made preserves’
    • ‘Place in freezer. in a small mixing bowl, combine peach preserves and orange marmalade.’
    • ‘They need to be combined with sugar and made into some kind of preserve, like the traditional rowan jelly often served with roast venison, wood pigeon or wild duck.’
    • ‘I used a homemade raspberry and red currant preserve from last summer - delicious!’
    • ‘Seven Irish companies displayed a range of their products, including hand-made chocolates, chewing gum, preserves, sugar confectionery and potato snacks.’
    • ‘However, the preserve we now recognize as jam is a relatively modern descendant of all the rather solid fruit and sugar conserves, preserves, and marmalades of the 17th and 18th centuries.’
    • ‘He has infused raw excitement and energy into golf, and elevated it from the clubby, elite preserve of conservative, white males to global popularity.’
    • ‘On Thursday one mother arrived with a jar of a Russian fruit preserve that was her son's favourite food.’
    • ‘Born in Dundee, Scotland, he was a member of the wealthy Keiller family, well known amongst other things for their marmalade and preserves.’
    • ‘Cook until tender; add the cherry preserves and cook for two minutes.’
    • ‘Fill a gift bag with a loaf of home-made bread, a jar of all-natural fruit preserves and some herbal tea.’
    • ‘What is it about a hot cup of coffee that begs for a pastry coated with chocolate or filled with fruit preserves?’
    • ‘I was so enthusiastic, in fact, that upon leaving I decided to buy my own jars of praline spread and raspberry preserves.’
    • ‘I feel hungry, so I make us fruit preserve sandwiches while she tells me about her mission.’
    • ‘He then opened a jar of cherry preserve, spooned some out, and put it in his mouth.’
    • ‘After recently re-discovering the last two jars of her home-made preserve, Mrs Tomkins, 73, wanted to find out whether it was edible.’
    jam, jelly, marmalade, conserve, confection
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  • 2A sphere of activity regarded as being reserved for a particular person or group.

    ‘the civil service became the preserve of the educated middle class’
    • ‘With few around to own the enormous houses he created in Park Circus, the area became the preserve of lawyers, surveyors and other professionals who have their offices there.’
    • ‘Straying into territory more usually the preserve of English or philosophy professors, they have decided that the problem with their work is not how it is done.’
    • ‘The types of activities that were previously the preserve of a crazy, zany, wacky few are moving mainstream; what started as a fad has become a phenomenon.’
    • ‘But some are beginning to participate in an activity once thought to be the preserve of technology geeks and political partisans.’
    • ‘They used to be the preserve of academics but now rare books are going online, says John Sutherland’
    • ‘While women have traditionally been the cooks in homes, professional cooking, including the cooking done at royal courts and for marriages, used to be the preserve of male cooks.’
    • ‘Jordan's mineral projects have generally been the preserve of the major public companies.’
    • ‘This is a mainly male preserve and picnics flourish throughout the summer on match days.’
    • ‘New technology is available to all age groups, it is not the preserve of young people.’
    • ‘Cyberspace is no longer the preserve of English speakers.’
    • ‘If we do none of those things, and leave rail fares to the pressures of the market, then trains will increasingly become the preserve of the rich.’
    • ‘This book shows that science writing is by no means the preserve of specialists.’
    • ‘These are typical of the areas that were, until relatively recently, the preserve of specialist providers.’
    • ‘It's putting tools that were once the preserve of Big Media into the hands of the many.’
    • ‘Previously, this was the preserve of government officials only but Commissioner for Tourism Eva Cheng confirmed that the government was considering a public element.’
    • ‘Since the arrival of the first video games in arcades and early home computers in the 1970s and 1980s, the pastime has been viewed as the preserve of teenage boys and young men who don't get out much.’
    • ‘His view is that the primary responsibility of governments is to implement justice, whereas charity is the preserve of individuals.’
    • ‘Before long, an activity that had been the preserve of the fortunate few became a means of mass transit.’
    • ‘Despite rumblings in the media that classical music is only the preserve of the middle-aged and middle-class, Classic FM has shown otherwise.’
    • ‘In American academia, the study of Islamic cultures in Africa has long been the preserve of specialists.’
    domain, area, field, sphere, orbit, arena, realm, province, speciality, specialism, territory, department
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  • 3North American A place where game is protected and kept for private hunting or shooting.

    • ‘Their hunting grounds and game preserves are being disturbed and their food supply both diminished and rendered uncertain.’
    • ‘Mr. Cheney had previously come under criticism for a pheasant hunt in which he shot dozens of pen-raised birds on a hunting preserve near Pittsburgh.’
    • ‘National forests present more challenges than do private game preserves.’
    • ‘The landowner may feel a guilt of sorts when he converts the land into a hunting preserve.’
    • ‘Yet, the buzzard does not exist in such numbers for it to be a constant danger to the game preserves, and quite rightly it has been placed upon the list of protected birds.’
    • ‘Today, 20,000 acres of the base are used for recreation and as a game preserve.’
    • ‘Hunting preserves advertise in hunting magazines and on the internet.’
    • ‘Oyster beds where young oysters are matured are as carefully looked after today as are game preserves.’
    • ‘A mile further down the street was the original boundary of the game preserve, marked off by an obsolete, broken down chainlink fence.’
    • ‘Farmer Dan Giles turned 2,000 of his 3,000 acres into a hunting preserve for deer, turkey and quail.’
    • ‘They seem to be alive and doing rather well in game preserves, zoos, theme parks, museums, books and television shows.’
    • ‘Here on this former hunting preserve, Galvez and her colleagues are carefully monitoring nests and patrolling against poachers.’
    • ‘The bill would not apply to bird shooting preserves - only to operations offering the shooting of non-native big game mammals.’
    • ‘Congress soon followed his lead, approving several refuges and game preserves in the early 1900s.’
    • ‘Weardale was at this time a forested area that belonged to the Bishops of Durham, who used it as a hunting preserve.’
    sanctuary, reserve, reservation, game reserve
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Late Middle English (in the sense ‘keep safe from harm’): from Old French preserver, from late Latin praeservare, from prae- ‘before, in advance’ + servare ‘to keep’.