Definition of preference in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpref(ə)rəns/


1A greater liking for one alternative over another or others: a preference for long walks and tennis over jogging he chose a clock in preference to a watch
More example sentences
  • Both of them expressed a preference for an alternative chair person.
  • Very often people express a preference for planting broadleaves.
  • Creative Commons licenses help people express a preference for sharing their work - on their own terms.
liking, partiality, predilection, proclivity, fondness, taste, inclination, leaning, bias, bent, penchant, predisposition
rather than, instead of, in place of, sooner than
1.1A thing preferred: my musical preferences are blues and swing
More example sentences
  • He strove to reach a balance between the musical preferences of fans and the band's own artistic pursuits.
  • These students want to identify themselves through their musical preferences.
  • The legs of his pants end above the tops of his shoes, a fashion preference dictated by the hours he spends ankle-deep in wet grass.
favorite, (first) choice, selection
informal cup of tea, thing, druthers
1.2Favor shown to one person or thing over another or others: preference is given to those who make a donation
More example sentences
  • Rather, it was the behavioral aspect of prey preference that influenced stability.
  • It must be remembered that most infants show no lateral preference in the first few years of life.
  • He enrolled in a journalism course, but when there were assignments to be done he felt he had to give preference to his poetry writing, and left the course.
priority, favor, precedence, preferential treatment
2 Law A prior right or precedence, especially in connection with the payment of debts: debts owed to the community should be accorded a preference
More example sentences
  • The payment had the effect of conferring a preference, priority or advantage on those creditors over the other creditors.
  • That must be so whether the preference took the form of the payment of a debt or the grant of a security.
  • If the Court is against us on preferences, then those credits come back into our loan account.


Late Middle English (in the sense 'promotion'): from Old French, from medieval Latin praeferentia, from Latin praeferre 'carry in front' (see prefer).

Words that rhyme with preference

deference, reference

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pref·er·ence

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