v. pre·served, pre·serv·ing, pre·serves
1. To keep from injury, peril, or harm; protect. See Synonyms at defend.
2. To keep in perfect or unaltered condition; maintain unchanged: fossils preserved in sediments; a film preserved in the archives.
3. To keep or maintain intact: tried to preserve family harmony.
4. To prepare (food) for storage or future use, as by canning or salting.
5. To prevent (organic bodies) from decaying or spoiling: preserved the specimen in a chemical solution.
a. To protect (wildlife or natural resources) in a designated area, often for regulated hunting or fishing.
b. To maintain (an area) for the protection of wildlife or natural resources.
1. To treat fruit or other foods so as to prevent decay.
2. To maintain an area for the protection of wildlife or natural resources.
1. Something that acts to preserve; a preservative.
2. often preserves Fruit cooked with sugar to protect against decay or fermentation.
3. An area maintained for the protection of wildlife or natural resources.
4. Something considered as being the exclusive province of certain persons: Ancient Greek is the preserve of scholars.
[Middle English preserven, from Old French preserver, from Medieval Latin praeservāre, from Late Latin, to observe beforehand : Latin prae-, pre- + Latin servāre, to guard, preserve; see ser-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
pres′er·vation (prĕz′ər-vāshən) n.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.