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[pref-er-uh-buh l, pref-ruh- or, often, pri-fur-] /ˈprɛf ər ə bəl, ˈprɛf rə- or, often, prɪˈfɜr-/
more desirable.
worthy to be preferred.
Origin of preferable
From the French word préfsptérable, dating back to 1640-50. See prefer, -able
Related forms
preferability, preferableness, noun
preferably, adverb
nonpreferability, noun
nonpreferable, adjective
nonpreferableness, noun
nonpreferably, adverb
unpreferable, adjective
unpreferableness, noun
unpreferably, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for preferable
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The latter was equally plausible; but, if it came, would it not be preferable to the other?

    The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson
  • This will be found to be very delicious and preferable to any other kind.

    Woman's Institute Library of Cookery, Vol. 5 Woman's Institute of Domestic Arts and Sciences
  • In either way, the certainty must be preferable to the suspense.

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • For the unhappiness of Youth is preferable to the resignation of Age.

    The Slave Of The Lamp Henry Seton Merriman
  • Villaret reminded him that we were the guests of a German, and that it was preferable to be quiet.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
British Dictionary definitions for preferable


/ˈprɛfərəbəl; ˈprɛfrəbəl/
preferred or more desirable
Derived Forms
preferability, preferableness, noun
Usage note
Since preferable already means more desirable, one should not say something is more preferable or most preferable
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 preferable

1640s, from or on model of French préférable, from préfér (see prefer). OED notes preferrable is better English but has not prevailed. Related: Preferably.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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