choose vs prefer what difference

what is difference between choose and prefer


Alternative forms

  • chuse (obsolete)

Etymology 1

From Middle English chesen, from Old English ċēosan (to choose, seek out, select, elect, decide, test, accept, settle for, approve), from Proto-West Germanic *keusan, from Proto-Germanic *keusaną (to taste, choose), from Proto-Indo-European *ǵéwseti, from *ǵews- (to taste, try).

Cognate with Scots chuise, cheese (to choose), French choisir (to choose), North Frisian kese (to choose), West Frisian kieze (to choose), Dutch kiezen (to choose), Low German kesen (to choose), archaic and partially obsolete German kiesen (to choose), Danish kyse (to frighten (via ‘to charm, allure’ and ‘to enchant’)), Norwegian kjose (to choose), Swedish tjusa (to charm, allure, enchant), Icelandic kjósa (to choose, vote, elect), Gothic ???????????????????????? (kiusan, to test), Latin gustō (I taste, sample), Ancient Greek γεύω (geúō, to feed), Sanskrit जोषति (jóṣati, to like, enjoy).


  • enPR: cho͞oz, IPA(key): /t͡ʃuːz/
  • Rhymes: -uːz
  • Homophone: chews


choose (third-person singular simple present chooses, present participle choosing, simple past chose or (nonstandard) choosed, past participle chosen or (nonstandard) choosed or (now colloquial) chose)

  1. To pick; to make the choice of; to select.
    • The Bat—they called him the Bat. Like a bat he chose the night hours for his work of rapine; like a bat he struck and vanished, pouncingly, noiselessly; like a bat he never showed himself to the face of the day.
  2. To elect.
  3. To decide to act in a certain way.
  4. To prefer; to wish; to desire.
    • 2016, Justin Deschamps:
    • The landlady now returned to know if we did not choose a more genteel apartment.
Usage notes
  • This is a catenative verb that takes the to infinitive. See Appendix:English catenative verbs
Related terms
  • choice
  • choosy
  • chosen



  1. (mathematics) The binomial coefficient of the previous and following number.
    The number of distinct subsets of size k from a set of size n is




    {\displaystyle {\tbinom {n}{k}}}

    or “n choose k“.

See also
  • Binomial coefficient on Wikipedia.Wikipedia

Etymology 2

From Middle English chose, chos, chooce, from chosen (to choose). Cognate with Scots chose (choosing, choice, selection).


choose (plural chooses)

  1. (dialectal or obsolete) The act of choosing; selection.
  2. (dialectal or obsolete) The power, right, or privilege of choosing; election.
  3. (dialectal or obsolete) Scope for choice.


  • choose in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.
  • choose in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
  • Oxford English Dictionary, 1884–1928, and First Supplement, 1933.


  • Cohoes, cohoes, ooches


Alternative forms

  • præfer [16th-17th c.]
  • preferre [14th-17th c.]


From Middle English preferren, from Anglo-Norman preferer and Old French preferer, from Latin praeferō, praeferre. Displaced native Middle English foresettan and foreberan.


  • (General American) IPA(key): /pɹɪˈfɝ/
  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /pɹɪˈfɜː/
  • Rhymes: -ɜː(ɹ)


prefer (third-person singular simple present prefers, present participle preferring, simple past and past participle preferred)

  1. (transitive) To be in the habit of choosing something rather than something else; to favor; to like better. [from 14thc.]
    I’d prefer it if you didn’t do it.
    • “My tastes,” he said, still smiling, “incline me to the garishly sunlit side of this planet.” And, to tease her and arouse her to combat: “I prefer a farandole to a nocturne; I’d rather have a painting than an etching; Mr. Whistler bores me with his monochromatic mud; I don’t like dull colours, dull sounds, dull intellects; [].”
  2. (transitive, now dated) To advance, promote (someone or something). [from 14thc.]
    • 1743, Robert Drury, The Pleasant, and Surprizing Adventures of Mr. Robert Drury, during his Fifteen Years Captivity on the Island of Madagascar, London, p. 67,[1]
      [] she was one of my Master’s Captives. For this Reason, I presume, it was, that she took so much Compassion upon me; considering herself a Slave in a strange Country, and only preferr’d to my Master’s Bed by Courtesy.
  3. (transitive) To present or submit (something) to an authority (now usually in “to prefer charges”). [from 16thc.]
    • 1803, Robert Charles Dallas, The History of the Maroons, London: Longman and Rees, Volume 1, Letter 5, p. 137,[2]
      At length the Maroons, who were delighted to have him with them, became discontented with his absence, and for several years, during the sessions of the House of Assembly, preferred repeated complaints against him.
  4. (obsolete, transitive) To put forward for acceptance; to introduce, recommend (to). [16th-19thc.]
    • 1630, John Smith, The True Travels, Adventures, and Observations of Captaine Iohn Smith, London: Thomas Slater, Chapter 1, p. 2,[3]
      one Master David Hume, who making some use of his purse, gave him Letters to his friends in Scotland to preferre him to King Iames.
    • 1817, Walter Scott, Rob Roy, Volume One, Chapter 17,[4]
      Such were the arguments which my will boldly preferred to my conscience, as coin which ought to be current, and which conscience, like a grumbling shopkeeper, was contented to accept [].

Usage notes

  • The verb can be used in three different forms:
    1. prefer + noun + to (or over) + noun. Example: I prefer coffee to tea.
    2. prefer + gerund + to (or over) + gerund. Example: I prefer skiing to swimming.
    3. prefer + full infinitive + rather than + bare infinitive. Example: I prefer to die honorably rather than live in shame. If the second verb is the same as the first, it can be elided: I prefer to eat fish rather than meat.



  • forechoose


  • disprefer

Related terms

  • nonpreferred
  • preferable / preferrable
  • preference
  • preferendum
  • preferential
  • preferer / preferrer
  • preferment
  • preferred creditor, preferred provider, preferred stock, preferred stockholder
  • unpreferred
  • prelate




  • IPA(key): [preˈfer]



  1. first-person singular present indicative/subjunctive of prefera

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