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 ?
She might indeed be called a lover of men, as Socrates was a lover of mankind, preferring one to another for corporeal, as he for mental qualifications; but never carrying this preference so far as to cause any perturbation in the philosophical serenity of her temper.