WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2017
pre•serve /prɪˈzɜrv/USA pronunciation   v.,  -served, -serv•ing, n. 
v. [+ object]
  1. to keep (something) alive or in existence;
    make (something) lasting;
    protect:to preserve our liberties.
  2. to keep up;
    maintain;
    take action to prevent decay:to preserve historical monuments.
  3. to keep possession of;
    keep;
    retain:He managed to preserve his composure during the debates.
  4. to prepare (food) so as to prevent or slow down its decay:preserving meat.
  5. to prepare (fruit, etc.) by cooking with sugar, etc.
  6. to maintain and protect (game, etc.) for continued survival or for private use, as in hunting or fishing.

n. [countable]
  1. something that preserves.
  2. that which is preserved.
  3. FoodUsually,  preserves. [plural] fruit prepared by cooking with sugar.
  4. a place set apart for protection of game or fish, esp. for sport:a forest preserve.
  5. something looked on as belonging to a particular person or group of people only:She was running for the Senate to prove that politics was no longer just a male preserve.
pre•serv•er, n. [countable]See -serv-2.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2017
pre•serve  (pri zûrv),USA pronunciation v.,  -served, -serv•ing, n. 
v.t. 
  1. to keep alive or in existence; make lasting:to preserve our liberties as free citizens.
  2. to keep safe from harm or injury;
    protect or spare.
  3. to keep up;
    maintain:to preserve historical monuments.
  4. to keep possession of;
    retain:to preserve one's composure.
  5. to prepare (food or any perishable substance) so as to resist decomposition or fermentation.
  6. to prepare (fruit, vegetables, etc.) by cooking with sugar, pickling, canning, or the like.
  7. to maintain and reserve (game, fish, etc.) for continued survival or for private use, as in hunting or fishing.

v.i. 
  1. to preserve fruit, vegetables, etc.;
    make preserves.
  2. to maintain a preserve for game or fish, esp. for sport.

n. 
  1. something that preserves.
  2. that which is preserved.
  3. FoodUsually,  preserves. fruit, vegetables, etc., prepared by cooking with sugar.
  4. a place set apart for protection and propagation of game or fish, esp. for sport.
pre•serva•ble, adj. 
pre•serv′a•bili•ty, n. 
pres•er•va•tion  (prez′ər vāshən),USA pronunciation n.  pre•server, n. 
  • Medieval Latin praeservāre to guard (Late Latin: to observe), equivalent. to Latin prae- pre- + servāre to watch over, keep, preserve, observe
  • Middle English preserven 1325–75
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged conserve.
    • 2.See corresponding entry in Unabridged safeguard, shelter, shield. See  defend. 
    • 3.See corresponding entry in Unabridged continue, uphold, sustain.
    • 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged destroy.

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