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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
1640-50; < French préfsptérable. 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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for preferable
  • And pencils are far preferable to pens, which tend not to work at temperatures below freezing.
  • But it's also acceptable-maybe even preferable-if the reason it was memorable was only tangentially related to the food.
  • Payment by check is preferable as a cancelled check is proof payment has been received by us and registration has been processed.
  • The product may be disposable, but using paper towels is preferable to wiping bottles with a germ-laden sponge or cloth.
  • Sometimes, putting the horizon down low to emphasize a dramatic sky is preferable.
  • Many writers agreed that a few deft changes are preferable to a lot of bad changes.
  • It would be preferable to have some respite from buying and selling, some separation between private and public life.
  • Getting a text is often preferable to getting a call.
  • That's preferable to a drawn-out fight in which one side refuses to accept the short-term risk resulting from a decisive maneuver.
  • But this is only preferable so long as a purely electronic display is much more expensive.
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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