Pre*fer" (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Preferred (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Preferring.] [F. pr'ef'erer, L. praeferre; prae before + ferre to bear or carry. See 1st Bear.]


To carry or bring (something) forward, or before one; hence, to bring for consideration, acceptance, judgment, etc.; to offer; to present; to proffer; to address; -- said especially of a request, prayer, petition, claim, charge, etc.

He spake, and to her hand preferred the bowl. Pope.

Presently prefer his suit to Caesar. Shak.

Three tongues prefer strange orisons on high. Byron.


To go before, or be before, in estimation; to outrank; to surpass.

[Obs.] "Though maidenhood prefer bigamy."



To cause to go before; hence, to advance before others, as to an office or dignity; to raise; to exalt; to promote; as, to prefer an officer to the rank of general.

I would prefer him to a better place. Shak.


To set above or before something else in estimation, favor, or liking; to regard or honor before another; to hold in greater favor; to choose rather; -- often followed by to, before, or above.

If I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy. Ps. cxxxvii. 6.

Preferred an infamous peace before a most just war. Knolles.

Preferred stock, stock which takes a dividend before other capital stock; -- called also preference stock and preferential stock.

Syn. -- To choose; elect. See Choose.


© Webster 1913.

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