Meaning of “preference” in the English Dictionary

"preference" in British English

See all translations

preferencenoun [ C or U ]

uk /ˈpref.ər.əns/ us /ˈpref.ər.əns/

B2 the fact that you like something or someone more than another thing or person:

Her preference is for comfortable rather than stylish clothes.
I have a preference for sweet food over spicy.
Choosing furniture is largely a matter of personal preference.
It would be wrong to discriminate against a candidate because of their sexual preference (= the sex of the people they are sexually attracted to).

an advantage that is given to a person or a group of people:

We give preference to those who have worked with us for a long time.
Special preferences were offered initially to encourage investment.
in preference to sth

If you choose one thing in preference to another thing, you choose it because you like or want it more than the other thing:

He studied chemistry in preference to physics at university.

More examples

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

"preference" in American English

See all translations

preferencenoun [ C/U ]

us /ˈpref·ər·əns/

A preference is also an advantage given to someone:

[ U ] The city gives preference to job applicants who live there.

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

"preference" in Business English

See all translations


uk /ˈprefərəns/ us

[ C or U ] the fact of liking or wanting one thing more than another:

preference for sth These investors had a preference for securities rather than bank deposits.
More flexibility will enable managers to redesign their floors quickly according to customer preferences.
Buying a car is a matter of personal preference.

[ U ] an advantage or better treatment that is given to a person or a group of people:

give preference to sb/sth This small-business program gives preference to minority- and women-owned companies.


uk /ˈprefərəns/ us FINANCE, STOCK MARKET

used to describe a company's shares that have the right to fixed dividends (= payments from profits) before the dividends on its ordinary shares are calculated and paid in a particular period, or in periods when dividends on these shares are not paid at all:

Nokia is to increase its capital with about $100 million of new preference stock.

(Definition of “preference” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)