Definition of preserve in English:

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Pronunciation: /prɪˈzəːv/


[with object]
1Maintain (something) in its original or existing state: all records of the past were zealously preserved (as adjective preserved) a magnificently preserved monastery
More example sentences
  • It is a time not only to preserve the existing buildings but enhance the character of Bradford and provide complementary new architecture.
  • 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?
  • New buildings should preserve the existing environment while applying the latest science and materials.
conserve, protect, maintain, care for, take care of, look after, save, safeguard, keep
1.1Retain (a condition or state of affairs): a fight to preserve local democracy
More example sentences
  • The 2001 Election preserved this state of affairs, and has probably made Labour's first two terms much easier.
  • 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.
  • Clark's vision was of ‘an indestructible union of indestructible states’ that preserved the autonomy of local regional life.
1.2Maintain or keep alive (a memory or quality): the film has preserved all the qualities of the novel
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • It is wonderful how Rose has developed this resource and has preserved the memory of these bygone days.
  • 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.
1.3Keep safe from harm or injury: a place for preserving endangered species
More example sentences
  • The fishermen along this coast believe that if their wives are faithful and perform the rituals, they will be preserved from harm.
  • 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.
  • 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.
1.4Keep (game or an area where game is found) undisturbed to allow private hunting or shooting.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • It's my opinion that some of our public land should be preserved as game preserves.
  • Persons found in pursuit of game in the preserved areas will be prosecuted.
2Treat (food) to prevent its decomposition: freezing and canning can be reliable methods of preserving foods
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Salting and smoking had long been known as methods for preserving foods over extended periods of time.
  • 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;
cure, smoke, kipper, salt, pickle, marinate, souse, corn, jelly, candy;
embalm, mummify
2.1Prepare (fruit) for long-term storage by boiling it with sugar: (as adjective preserved) preserved oranges
More example sentences
  • They all consist of fruits preserved mostly by means of sugar and they are thickened or jellied to some extent.
  • The Victorians adored sweets and ate far more fruit preserves than we do today.
  • Often these fruits are preserved after the harvest, providing a constant supply of compote year round.


1 [mass noun] A foodstuff made with fruit preserved in sugar, such as jam or marmalade: a jar of cherry preserve [count noun]: home-made preserves
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • He then opened a jar of cherry preserve, spooned some out, and put it in his mouth.
  • After recently re-discovering the last two jars of her home-made preserve, Mrs Tomkins, 73, wanted to find out whether it was edible.
North American  dulce;
French confiture
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
More example sentences
  • They used to be the preserve of academics but now rare books are going online, says John Sutherland
  • This book shows that science writing is by no means the preserve of specialists.
  • 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.
3chiefly North American A place where game is protected and kept for private hunting or shooting.
Example sentences
  • 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.
  • Hunting preserves advertise in hunting magazines and on the internet.



Pronunciation: /prɪˈzəːvəb(ə)l/
Example sentences
  • In addition to some nearly complete specimens, isolated fragments of nearly every preservable body part have been recovered.
  • Many nearly complete specimens have been collected, and nearly every preservable body part is represented.


Pronunciation: /prɪˈzəːvə/
Example sentences
  • It also explores his equally influential and perhaps more valuable labours as an advocate and preserver of the nation's architectural and religious heritage, through which he became one of the first stars of television.
  • High in benzoic acid, which is a natural preservative, native American Indians taught pilgrims their uses as a preserver of winter foods and staple of flavourings and sauces for bland, run-down food stores.
  • The panel ran around 75 minutes and was videotaped for posterity by a devoted preserver of comic history, Mike Catron.


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'.

  • conserve from Late Middle English:

    This comes via French from Latin conservare ‘to preserve’, the elements of which are con- ‘together’ and servare ‘to keep’. Conservatory (mid 16th century) was originally ‘something that preserves’, with the sense glass house dating from the mid 17th century. Other words from servare are preserve (Late Middle English) from prae ‘in advance’ and servare; observe (Late Middle English) with ob ‘toward’ with the sense ‘pay attention to’; and reserve (Middle English) ‘keep back’.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pre|serve

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