WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
pref•er•ence /ˈprɛfərəns/USA pronunciation   n. 
    1. the act of preferring;
      the state of being preferred[uncountable]showing preference in hiring practices.
    1. something preferred[countable]My preference would be for a vegetarian meal.
    1. Government[uncountable] the favoring of one country over others in international trade.
See -fer-.
WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2015
pref•er•ence  (prefər əns, prefrəns), 
    1. the act of preferring.
    1. the state of being preferred.
    1. that which is preferred;
      choice:His preference is vanilla, not chocolate.
    1. a practical advantage given to one over others.
    1. a prior right or claim, as to payment of dividends or to assets upon dissolution.
    1. the favoring of one country or group of countries by granting special advantages over others in international trade.
  • Medieval Latin praeferentia. See prefer, -ence
  • 1595–1605
3 . selection, pick. See choice. 

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

preference /ˈprɛfərəns; ˈprɛfrəns/ n
  1. the act of preferring
  2. something or someone preferred
  3. the granting of favour or precedence to particular foreign countries, as by levying differential tariffs

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