prefer (someone or something) to (someone or something else)

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prefer (someone or something) to (someone or something else)

To choose, or tend to choose, someone or something as more desirable or valuable than someone or something else. I usually prefer tea to coffee, but I need something a little stronger this morning. I don't know why Amy prefers Tom to Steve—Tom is such a jerk!
See also: prefer, something

prefer someone or something to someone (or something else)

to rank the desirability of someone or something over someone or something else. For the post of treasurer, I prefer Don to Jill. I prefer missing a meal to Jill's cooking.
See also: prefer
References in classic literature ?
If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.
The rule which has obtained in the courts for determining their relative validity is, that the last in order of time shall be preferred to the first.
They teach us that the prior act of a superior ought to be preferred to the subsequent act of an inferior and subordinate authority; and that accordingly, whenever a particular statute contravenes the Constitution, it will be the duty of the judicial tribunals to adhere to the latter and disregard the former.
And there would be no difficulty in arguing that Socrates should have lived and preferred to a glorious death the good which he might still be able to perform.
Here it is proposed to remain two days, visiting the harbors, fortifications, and battlefields of the Crimea; thence back through the Bosphorus, touching at Constantinople to take in any who may have preferred to remain there; down through the Sea of Marmora and the Dardanelles, along the coasts of ancient Troy and Lydia in Asia, to Smyrna, which will be reached in two or two and a half days from Constantinople.
From Joppa, Jerusalem, the River Jordan, the Sea of Tiberias, Nazareth, Bethany, Bethlehem, and other points of interest in the Holy Land can be visited, and here those who may have preferred to make the journey from Beirut through the country, passing through Damascus, Galilee, Capernaum, Samaria, and by the River Jordan and Sea of Tiberias, can rejoin the steamer.