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[pref-er-uh ns, pref-ruh ns] /ˈprɛf ər əns, ˈprɛf rəns/
the act of preferring.
the state of being preferred.
that which is preferred; choice:
His preference is vanilla, not chocolate.
a practical advantage given to one over others.
a prior right or claim, as to payment of dividends or to assets upon dissolution.
the favoring of one country or group of countries by granting special advantages over others in international trade.
Origin of preference
1595-1605; < Medieval Latin praeferentia. See prefer, -ence
Related forms
nonpreference, noun
self-preference, noun
3. selection, pick. See choice. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for preference
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I come to you in preference, on purpose to avoid sermonising.

    Camilla Fanny Burney
  • How my heart rises at her preference of them to me, when she is convinced of their injustice to me!

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • There are four or five varieties, but no preference has been given to any particular one.

    Soil Culture J. H. Walden
  • All our reasonings a priori will never be able to show us any foundation for this preference.

  • He expressed his preference for parliamentary reform, based on population.

    George Brown John Lewis
British Dictionary definitions for preference


/ˈprɛfərəns; ˈprɛfrəns/
the act of preferring
something or someone preferred
  1. the settling of the claims of one or more creditors before or to the exclusion of those of the others
  2. a prior right to payment, as of a dividend or share in the assets of a company in the event of liquidation
(commerce) the granting of favour or precedence to particular foreign countries, as by levying differential tariffs
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for preference

mid-15c., "advancement in position or status;" 1650s as "act of prefering," from Middle French preference (14c., Modern French préférence), from Medieval Latin preferentia, from past participle stem of Latin praeferrere (see prefer). Sense of "that which one prefers" is from 1852.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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