The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Prefer \Pre*fer"\, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Preferred; p. pr. & vb.
n. Preferring.] [F. pr['e]f['e]rer, L. praeferre; prae
before + ferre to bear or carry. See 1st Bear.]
1. 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,
He spake, and to her hand preferred the bowl.
Presently prefer his suit to C[ae]sar. --Shak.
Three tongues prefer strange orisons on high.
2. To go before, or be before, in estimation; to outrank; to
surpass. [Obs.] "Though maidenhood prefer bigamy."
3. 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. --Shak.
4. 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.
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
Syn: To choose; elect. See Choose.