Definition of prefer in US English:



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