Definition of preserve in US English:



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

    ‘all records of the past were zealously preserved’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There is, however, enough money available to maintain and preserve the mill in good working order.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Others have argued that an obsession with preserving the past leads to an inability to think in a broader economic context.’
    • ‘In the past, he says, too much time and effort has been expended on maintaining and preserving bricks and mortar.’
    • ‘Should we freeze the site to preserve it for the historical record?’
    • ‘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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The place is immaculately preserved and frozen in time - somewhere in the early 20th century - and has been used as a film location.’
    • ‘These monasteries preserved the cultural riches of Greece and Rome, as well as the growing wisdom accumulated by the Church herself.’
    • ‘The ticket income is far from enough for them to maintain and preserve the gardens.’
    • ‘With an already existing building the challenge is to personalize and humanize the existing spaces and to preserve those spaces that enhance community.’
    • ‘You may, in the past, have preserved important letters - but how many emails from five years ago have you kept?’
    • ‘It is a time not only to preserve the existing buildings but enhance the character of Bradford and provide complementary new architecture.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That Act gave the Corporation orders to maintain, improve and preserve the port.’
    • ‘The 218 flats are arranged in three blocks, set back from the road to preserve an existing belt of trees and minimise noise disturbance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After the Royal Wedding in 1981 I even preserved the commemoration milk bottle tops for posterity.’
    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’
      • ‘Even during the Civil War, when the Democrats were fighting to preserve slavery, limits were observed.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Existing rights are preserved by Section 55 (inserting Section 36A).’
      • ‘Fortunately, the idea of doing everything possible to preserve existing jobs was rejected.’
      • ‘I mean, historically, universities fought very hard to preserve their independence and autonomy.’
      • ‘Radio New Zealand is about maintaining and preserving our culture, our nation, and our society.’
      • ‘They walked away from the fight to preserve their purity.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One problem is that the system is geared toward preserving existing businesses while tying up new competitors with bureaucracy.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Yet, as after the First World War, there were also strong forces at work to preserve traditions and existing interests.’
      • ‘The film will be a tribute dedicated to all American soldiers who have fought to preserve our freedoms and liberties here in America.’
      • ‘Scots women fought to preserve personal freedom and equality.’
      • ‘His purpose in producing these was to preserve the existing structure of states in Germany and to confirm the security of Protestants in Germany.’
      • ‘Clark's vision was of ‘an indestructible union of indestructible states’ that preserved the autonomy of local regional life.’
      • ‘Apart from that, financial stability had been preserved and conditions for growth of 5.3 per cent in the coming year had been created.’
      • ‘Conquering new markets while preserving existing ones threatens brand loyalty.’
      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’
      • ‘This version is razor sharp, virtually flawless, preserving the film's extraordinary clarity and textured darkness.’
      • ‘How can western educators help preserve threatened languages?’
      • ‘This marked the end of Diamant's short life with Kafka, but she would spend the rest of her days preserving his memory.’
      • ‘The national monument is designed to resist age and to preserve the memory of its past, present, and future citizens.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Robert Clary, also a concentration camp survivor, talks about his work in preserving Holocaust memories during his commentary.’
      • ‘It is wonderful how Rose has developed this resource and has preserved the memory of these bygone days.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘Studies into how our brains retain information show that memories are stored and preserved along with the context in which they are experienced.’
      • ‘For Roach social memories are transmitted and preserved through bodily performances that accompany forms of travel, departure, and displacement.’
      • ‘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.’
    3. 1.3 Keep safe from harm or injury.
      ‘a place for preserving endangered species’
      • ‘This supplements the 20,000 species already preserved on the site.’
      • ‘But cloning proponents counter that not taking action to preserve or restore species is also playing God.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The WWF scientist says the conservation record of the U.S. doesn't suggest it's a great place for preserving big, endangered mammals.’
      • ‘There is a strong possibility that cloning could be used to help preserve Australian mammals.’
      • ‘It revealed that courses are saving water, using less chemicals, and preserving more wildlife area.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The interesting economic questions concern the marginal value of biodiversity itself and the benefits of preserving a particular marginal species or community.’
      • ‘These provisions can be applied to unlisted species to preserve particular national fauna.’
      • ‘For the first time, natural areas are being preserved in advance of development in a unique project unfolding on Canada's Arctic shores.’
      • ‘The fishermen along this coast believe that if their wives are faithful and perform the rituals, they will be preserved from harm.’
      • ‘But the truth is, this area is designed more to preserve and display species than it is to educate people about them.’
      • ‘Indeed, environmentally desirable goods sometimes clash one with another - measures to preserve one rare species might endanger another.’
      guard, protect, keep, defend, safeguard, secure, shelter, shield, screen, watch over
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    4. 1.4 Treat or refrigerate (food) to prevent its decomposition or fermentation.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even though sugar helps preserve jellies and jams, molds can grow on the surface of these products.’
      • ‘Ways in which fresh food can be preserved for longer will also be examined during this experiment and, if successful, used on Earth.’
      • ‘Cooks have been wielding spices for centuries, from preserving foods with them to masking smells and flavors in meats that were less than fresh.’
      • ‘When I lived in California, land of eternal sunshine, preserving food by drying was virtually effortless.’
      • ‘Systems of drying and preserving food were researched and refined.’
      • ‘Hurricane victims can use ice to refrigerate food, preserve medicine, and cool off in the summer heat.’
      • ‘It is used also in preserving food; pork or fish may be preserved in brine.’
      • ‘So, in order to preserve the cake, they doused it in the food sterilizer of choice… brandy.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘European airlines are very particular about hygiene and insist that food be preserved in accordance with the cold chain method.’
      • ‘Stemming from the Latin word marinus, or marine, the word refers to the seawater used to preserve food before the advent of refrigeration.’
      • ‘The star rating indicates how cold the unit can be set and will indicate how long various foods can be preserved.’
      • ‘Women preserved as much food as possible during the summer.’
      • ‘Every cottager kept a pig, which was killed in autumn and preserved to provide food through winter.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Before the turn of the twentieth century, food was preserved in the springhouse.’
      • ‘Candied ginger is ANOTHER preserved food; it's what sushi-eaters developed in Japan to keep their sushi fragrant.’
      conserve, bottle, tin, can, pot, chill, freeze, freeze-dry, quick-freeze, dry, desiccate, dehydrate
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    5. 1.5 Prepare (fruit) for long-term storage by boiling it with sugar.
      ‘she canned the vegetables and preserved the fruit from the garden’
      • ‘Often these fruits are preserved after the harvest, providing a constant supply of compote year round.’
      • ‘There's no better fruit preserve I know of - and you could be enjoying the very first jar just a few hours from now.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The Victorians adored sweets and ate far more fruit preserves than we do today.’
      • ‘They all consist of fruits preserved mostly by means of sugar and they are thickened or jellied to some extent.’
    6. 1.6 Keep (game or an area where game is found) undisturbed to allow private hunting or shooting.
      • ‘Persons found in pursuit of game in the preserved areas will be prosecuted.’
      • ‘It's my opinion that some of our public land should be preserved as game preserves.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


  • 1usually preservesFood made with fruit preserved in sugar, such as jam or marmalade.

    ‘home-made preserves’
    • ‘What is it about a hot cup of coffee that begs for a pastry coated with chocolate or filled with fruit preserves?’
    • ‘Cook until tender; add the cherry preserves and cook for two minutes.’
    • ‘I feel hungry, so I make us fruit preserve sandwiches while she tells me about her mission.’
    • ‘After recently re-discovering the last two jars of her home-made preserve, Mrs Tomkins, 73, wanted to find out whether it was edible.’
    • ‘Place in freezer. in a small mixing bowl, combine peach preserves and orange marmalade.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He then opened a jar of cherry preserve, spooned some out, and put it in his mouth.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Fill a gift bag with a loaf of home-made bread, a jar of all-natural fruit preserves and some herbal tea.’
    • ‘I was so enthusiastic, in fact, that upon leaving I decided to buy my own jars of praline spread and raspberry preserves.’
    • ‘Born in Dundee, Scotland, he was a member of the wealthy Keiller family, well known amongst other things for their marmalade and preserves.’
    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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This book shows that science writing is by no means the preserve of specialists.’
    • ‘Jordan's mineral projects have generally been the preserve of the major public companies.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Cyberspace is no longer the preserve of English speakers.’
    • ‘It's putting tools that were once the preserve of Big Media into the hands of the many.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In American academia, the study of Islamic cultures in Africa has long been the preserve of specialists.’
    • ‘New technology is available to all age groups, it is not the preserve of young people.’
    • ‘Despite rumblings in the media that classical music is only the preserve of the middle-aged and middle-class, Classic FM has shown otherwise.’
    • ‘They used to be the preserve of academics but now rare books are going online, says John Sutherland’
    • ‘Previously, this was the preserve of government officials only but Commissioner for Tourism Eva Cheng confirmed that the government was considering a public element.’
    • ‘But some are beginning to participate in an activity once thought to be the preserve of technology geeks and political partisans.’
    • ‘These are typical of the areas that were, until relatively recently, the preserve of specialist providers.’
    • ‘This is a mainly male preserve and picnics flourish throughout the summer on match days.’
    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.

    • ‘They seem to be alive and doing rather well in game preserves, zoos, theme parks, museums, books and television shows.’
    • ‘Congress soon followed his lead, approving several refuges and game preserves in the early 1900s.’
    • ‘The bill would not apply to bird shooting preserves - only to operations offering the shooting of non-native big game mammals.’
    • ‘Here on this former hunting preserve, Galvez and her colleagues are carefully monitoring nests and patrolling against poachers.’
    • ‘Farmer Dan Giles turned 2,000 of his 3,000 acres into a hunting preserve for deer, turkey and quail.’
    • ‘The landowner may feel a guilt of sorts when he converts the land into a hunting preserve.’
    • ‘A mile further down the street was the original boundary of the game preserve, marked off by an obsolete, broken down chainlink fence.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Today, 20,000 acres of the base are used for recreation and as a game 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.’
    • ‘Hunting preserves advertise in hunting magazines and on the internet.’
    • ‘National forests present more challenges than do private game preserves.’
    • ‘Their hunting grounds and game preserves are being disturbed and their food supply both diminished and rendered uncertain.’
    • ‘Oyster beds where young oysters are matured are as carefully looked after today as are game preserves.’
    • ‘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’.