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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 preferably
  • Five years administrative experience preferably in a community college setting.
  • The next best thing is an exchange, preferably with captive clearing and settlement attached for added revenue.
  • They're asking people to come up with short films in reply to that question, preferably info.
  • Get a plate of food, but then go strike up a conversation, preferably away from the buffet table.
  • Find a south-facing spot in your garden, preferably by some forage plants and nectar sources.
  • Serve the dish in deep bowls with crusty bread, preferably whole wheat baguette, for dunking.
  • Please include evidence, preferably in the form of links to objective sources.
  • Scatter sliced plums, preferably red-skinned, on top and fold dough edge over plums.
  • Pulling this off will require electricity from an outside source, preferably from solar panels.
  • Place it on a cookie or pizza sheet, preferably nonstick.
British Dictionary definitions for preferably


/ˈprɛfərəblɪ; ˈprɛfrəblɪ/
ideally; by preference; if one had a choice


/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 preferably



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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