Definition of preferential in English:



  • 1Of or involving preference or partiality; constituting a favor or privilege.

    ‘preferential interest rates may be offered to employees’
    ‘preferential trade terms’
    • ‘The loan has a state guarantee and a preferential interest rate of 7.5 per cent.’
    • ‘Favourable or preferential treatment of nephews suggests that inheritance does not have to wait until the decease of the putative benefactor.’
    • ‘I do remember examining my feelings at that time and wondering whether or not my parents' natural son had received any preferential treatment and I was forced to the conclusion that, if my parents had a favourite at all, then it was me.’
    • ‘It indicates a biased approach and preferential treatment in favour of individuals and groups.’
    • ‘Customers are also often attracted to such accounts by the promise of preferential interest rates.’
    • ‘They have enormous buying power and consequently get preferential treatment from suppliers.’
    • ‘‘I want to emphasise that I'm not trying to use parliamentary privilege to get preferential treatment or investigation of my specific case,’ he said.’
    • ‘To draw more overseas Chinese to work in the province, the provincial authorities have constituted a series of preferential policies for the schooling of the returnees' children.’
    • ‘At the same time, banks are continuing to strive to attract clients through lower interest rates and other preferential offers.’
    • ‘Since the start of 2005 most banks have started offering preferential interest rates.’
    • ‘Domestic politics would be purged of interest groups vying for preferential treatment.’
    • ‘Discrimination is about different, often preferential treatment, and although I love both my parents and my partner, I give preferential treatment to my partner.’
    • ‘This proposition would ban discrimination or preferential treatment of ethnic and gender groups by California public agencies.’
    • ‘The targets, revealed this weekend, are a response to the government drive to counter what it sees as the preferential treatment of ‘privileged’ public school pupils.’
    • ‘I had been warned by the chairman of the board, Alan Craig, not to talk to any potential buyers or give any preferential treatment, and I never did.’
    special, better, privileged, superior, favoured, advantageous, favourable
    partial, discriminatory, partisan, biased
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of a union shop) giving employment preference to union members.
      ‘a preferential shop’
    2. 1.2(of voting or an election) in which the voter puts candidates in order of preference.
      • ‘This is done so that parties can ‘direct’ their preferential votes.’
      • ‘Given a choice with optional preferential voting, voters expressed a primary vote intention, but then did not give preferences.’
      • ‘About 60,000 party members are eligible to vote for the leader in a one-ballot, preferential system.’
      • ‘The preferential vote has allowed the Town Party to become a niche party.’
      • ‘In 1978 Haya was elected a member of the Constituent Assembly with the highest preferential votes.’
      • ‘In 1920, it introduced compulsory preferential voting in Hare-Clark elections.’
      • ‘These elections were based on preferential voting-voters had to indicate their first three preferences among the competing parties.’
      • ‘The US presidential system is not preferential, so votes for one candidate cannot flow on to another if he is not elected.’
      • ‘They get my vote through the preferential system via the Greens and the Democrats.’
      • ‘It became a secret ballot with preferential voting.’
      • ‘She said she strongly objected to the preferential voting system, which forces voters to cast a ballot in favour of one of the major parties, whose policies are indistinguishable.’
      • ‘In the subsequent election each candidate polled exactly the same number of votes, ensuring the need to test Trinity's complex preferential voting procedure.’
      • ‘Seven Australian parliamentary chambers are elected using proportional representation, and four use optional preferential voting.’
    3. 1.3(of a creditor) having a claim on the receipt of payment from a debtor that will be met before those of other creditors.
      • ‘However, if it proves impossible to rescue the company, secured or preferential creditors such as the Inland Revenue and employees, will be paid first from any remaining assets.’
      • ‘The firm, a preferential creditor, is owed €113,000 for its examinership fees.’
      • ‘It will amend the Companies Act to make redundancy payments a preferential claim when a company goes into liquidation or receivership.’
      • ‘However, the meeting may approve such a proposal or modification with the concurrence of the preferential creditor concerned.’
      • ‘As preferential creditors the Inland Revenue will receive about half the £77,000 they are owed but the Council, as unsecured creditors, will get nothing.’
      • ‘Employees of the firm are listed as preferential creditors, and are due to be paid almost €130,000 from the insolvency fund.’
      • ‘The preferential creditors are company staff who are owed €61,500 in pay arrears for March, April and May.’
      • ‘It showed that the assets were sufficient to cover the amount of the debts assigned to the firm and all the potential claims of the preferential creditors.’
      • ‘As a preferential creditor, the Revenue Commissioners received the total assets, but was still left with a loss of more than €41,000.’
      • ‘Over six years ago, the Association put forward proposals, which would rank farmers as preferential creditors for agricultural produce supplied by them.’
      • ‘As an unsecured creditor, your claim would be dealt with after the claims of preferential and secured creditors.’
      • ‘I accept that a print service provider would not fall into the category of a preferential creditor.’
      • ‘He said that preferential creditors, including the Revenue, would be paid first, followed by secured creditors, including debentures and any property costs.’


Mid 19th century: from preference, on the pattern of differential.