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preference Line breaks: pref¦er|ence
Pronunciation: /ˈprɛf(ə)r(ə)ns/

Definition of preference in English:


1A greater liking for one alternative over another or others: her preference for white wine 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.
rather than, instead of, in place of, sooner than, above, before, over
1.1A thing preferred: nearly 40 per cent named acid house as their musical preference
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.
favourite, first choice, top of the list, choice, selection, pick
informal cup of tea, bag, thing
North American informal druthers
1.2 [mass noun] Favour 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, favour, precedence, advantage, preferential treatment, favoured treatment, favouritism
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
Definition of preference in:
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