The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Preserve \Pre*serve"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Preserved; p. pr. &
vb. n. Preserving.] [F. pr['e]server, from L. prae before +
servare to save, preserve; cf. L. praeservare to observe
beforehand. See Serve.]
1. To keep or save from injury or destruction; to guard or
defend from evil, harm, danger, etc.; to protect.
O Lord, thou preserved man and beast. --Ps. xxxvi.
Now, good angels preserve the king. --Shak.
2. To save from decay by the use of some preservative
substance, as sugar, salt, etc.; to season and prepare for
remaining in a good state, as fruits, meat, etc.; as, to
preserve peaches or grapes.
You can not preserve it from tainting. --Shak.
3. To maintain throughout; to keep intact; as, to preserve
appearances; to preserve silence.
To preserve game, to protect it from extermination.
Syn: To keep; save; secure; uphold; sustain; defend; spare;
protect; guard; shield. See Keep.