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.
Presently prefer his suit to Caesar.
Three tongues prefer strange orisons on high.
To go before, or be before, in estimation; to outrank; to surpass.
[Obs.] "Though maidenhood prefer
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.
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.
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.