Meaning of “prefer” in the English Dictionary

"prefer" in British English

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preferverb [ T ]

uk /prɪˈfɜːr/ us /prɪˈfɝː/ -rr-

prefer verb [ T ] (CHOOSE)

A2 to like, choose, or want one thing rather than another:

Do you prefer hot or cold weather?
I prefer red wine to white.
[ + -ing verb ] He prefers watching football to playing it.
[ + to infinitive ] I'd prefer not to discuss this issue.
formal I'd prefer you not to smoke (= I would like it better if you did not smoke), please.

More examples

  • Some people prefer a vegetarian diet, while others prefer a meat-based diet.
  • I'd prefer not to work but I don't have much choice.
  • Most convalescents prefer to be cared for at home rather than in a hospital.
  • You can detach the hood if you prefer the coat without it.
  • Would you prefer to pay by cash, cheque, or credit card?

(Definition of “prefer” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"prefer" in American English

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us /prɪˈfɜr/ -rr-

to choose or want one thing rather than another:

[ T ] We have tea and coffee, but perhaps you’d prefer a cold drink.
[ T ] He prefers watching baseball to playing it.
[ + that clause ] She prefers that we meet at the station.
[ + to infinitive ] Would you prefer to leave?

(Definition of “prefer” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)