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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.
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 preferences
  • But my private preferences cannot control my public actions.
  • Our appliances will pay attention to our preferences.
  • It also plans to release a new version of its app, one that suggests nearby meals based on your preferences.
  • With the beetle's wide variety of tree preferences, it is easy to understand the severity of the threat.
  • Chen discusses the artistic preferences of the gallery's overseas clients.
  • People did a good job of predicting their partner's preferences, in fact, only when they shared those preferences.
  • Simply add their names at the bottom of your forum preferences screen, and their posts will be blocked.
  • Again, adjust the amount depending on your heat preferences.
  • It's not always clear what's driving regional preferences, but this interactive map lets you see how your state stacks up.
  • Rather, while he acknowledges his status and aesthetic preferences, he leaves little room for the myriad pleasures of retro.
British Dictionary definitions for preferences


/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 preferences



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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