[pref-er-uhns, pref-ruhns]
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

nonpreference, noun
self-preference, noun

3. selection, pick. See choice. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
preference (ˈprɛfərəns, ˈprɛfrəns)
1.  the act of preferring
2.  something or someone preferred
3.  law
 a.  the settling of the claims of one or more creditors before or to the exclusion of those of the others
 b.  a prior right to payment, as of a dividend or share in the assets of a company in the event of liquidation
4.  commerce the granting of favour or precedence to particular foreign countries, as by levying differential tariffs

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1650s, "act of prefering," from prefer + -ence. Sense of "that which one prefers" is from 1864.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
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.
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