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Wordnet 3.0

NOUN (4)

1. a strong liking;
- Example: "my own preference is for good literature"
- Example: "the Irish have a penchant for blarney"
[syn: preference, penchant, predilection, taste]

2. a predisposition in favor of something;
- Example: "a predilection for expensive cars"
- Example: "his sexual preferences"
- Example: "showed a Marxist orientation"
[syn: predilection, preference, orientation]

3. the right or chance to choose;
- Example: "given my druthers, I'd eat cake"
[syn: preference, druthers]

4. grant of favor or advantage to one over another (especially to a country or countries in matters of international trade, such as levying duties);


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:

Preference \Pref"er*ence\, n. [Cf. F. pr['e]f['e]rence.] 1. The act of Preferring, or the state of being preferred; the setting of one thing before another; precedence; higher estimation; predilection; choice; also, the power or opportunity of choosing; as, to give him his preference. [1913 Webster] Leave the critics on either side to contend about the preference due to this or that sort of poetry. --Dryden. [1913 Webster] Knowledge of things alone gives a value to our reasonings, and preference of one man's knowledge over another's. --Locke. [1913 Webster] 2. That which is preferred; the object of choice or superior favor; as, which is your preference? [1913 Webster]
WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006):

preference n 1: a strong liking; "my own preference is for good literature"; "the Irish have a penchant for blarney" [syn: preference, penchant, predilection, taste] 2: a predisposition in favor of something; "a predilection for expensive cars"; "his sexual preferences"; "showed a Marxist orientation" [syn: predilection, preference, orientation] 3: the right or chance to choose; "given my druthers, I'd eat cake" [syn: preference, druthers] 4: grant of favor or advantage to one over another (especially to a country or countries in matters of international trade, such as levying duties)
Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0:

129 Moby Thesaurus words for "preference": affinity, alternative, alternativity, animus, antecedence, antecedency, anteposition, anteriority, aptitude, bag, bent, bias, cast, character, choice, choosing, chosen kind, co-optation, co-option, constitution, cosset, cup of tea, darling, decision, desire, diathesis, discrimination, disposition, dominion, druthers, eccentricity, election, elevation, fancy, fascination, favor, favorite, favoritism, first choice, fondling, free choice, free will, front position, grain, idiosyncrasy, idol, inclination, individualism, inequality, interest, involvement, jewel, kidney, leaning, liking, make, makeup, matinee idol, mental set, mettle, mind, mind-set, minion, mold, mutual affinity, mutual attraction, nature, nepotism, one-sidedness, option, parti pris, partiality, particular choice, partisanism, partisanship, penchant, personal choice, pet, pick, precedence, precedency, preceding, precession, precursor, predilection, predisposition, preferential treatment, preferment, prefixation, prejudice, prelude, preoption, prepossession, priority, proclivity, promotion, propensity, prothesis, selection, set, slant, spoiled child, stamp, strain, streak, stripe, style, superiority, sympathy, taste, temper, temperament, tendency, the lead, the pick, thing, top priority, turn, turn of mind, twist, type, undetachment, undispassionateness, unneutrality, upgrading, urgency, volition, warp, will
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Revised 6th Ed (1856):

PREFERENCE. The paying or securing to one or more of his creditors, by an insolvent debtor, the whole or a part of their claim, to the exclusion of the rest. By preference is also meant the right which a creditor has acquired over others to be paid first out of the assets of his debtor, as, when a creditor has obtained a judgment against his debtor which binds the latter's land, he has a preference. 2. Voluntary preferences are forbidden by the insolvent laws of some of the states, and are void, when made in a general assignment for the benefit of creditors. Vide Insolvent; Priority.
The Devil's Dictionary (1881-1906):

PREFERENCE, n. A sentiment, or frame of mind, induced by the erroneous belief that one thing is better than another. An ancient philosopher, expounding his conviction that life is no better than death, was asked by a disciple why, then, he did not die. "Because," he replied, "death is no better than life." It is longer.