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1. Literally, having been kept from decaying over a long period of time. The ancient body found in the cave was miraculously well preserved. Researchers have indicated that any well preserved DNA of ancient animals could be used to bring them back to life through cloning techniques.
2. Not showing the usual effects of one's age. I must figure out his secret because, for a 70-year-old, he's remarkably well preserved.
preserve (someone or something) against (something)
To keep someone or something safe or protected from something. Many of these chemicals used to preserve our foods against decay have deleterious effects on our health. Parents are all so preoccupied with preserving their children against danger that they end up sheltering them from many of the things that make childhoods memorable.
preserve (something) for (someone or something)
To keep something in an intact, unaltered, or protected condition for some future person or need. I want to preserve this specimen for inspection at our labs. He has done everything in his power to preserve this vast estate for his children and his children's children. I want to preserve this dress for my daughter so she can wear it on her wedding day.
preserve (someone or something) from (something)
To keep someone or something safe or protected from something. Many of these chemicals used to preserve our foods from decay have deleterious effects on our health. Parents are all so preoccupied with preserving their children from danger that they end up sheltering them from many of the things that make childhoods memorable.
dated slang Drunk. Based on the use of alcohol in preserving meat and vegetables. A: "Where's Bill?" B: "Oh, he spends most days getting preserved in the bar down the street." I was pretty preserved after all those shots they kept buying me last night.
preserve someone or something against something
to guard or protect someone or something against something. (Stilted or old-fashioned in reference to people.) I hope that the vaccine will preserve us against influenza. There is nothing in the jam to preserve it against spoilage.
preserve someone or something from someone or something
to protect or guard someone or something from someone or something. Please help preserve our people from the attacks of our enemies. Is there any way to preserve my skin against the harmful rays of the sun?
preserve something for someone or something
to save, maintain, or protect something for someone or some thing. Try to preserve some of these memories for your grandchildren. We learned how to preserve leaves for future reference.
Aging gracefully, still in good condition, as in I can't believe she's 65; she's certainly well preserved. [Mid-1800s]
mod. alcohol intoxicated. (see also pickled.) He drank a quart of vodka and is totally preserved.