pref·er·en·tial / ˌprefəˈrenchəl/ • adj. of or involving preference or partiality; constituting a favor or privilege: preferential interest rates may be offered to employees. ∎ (of regulations or rates) favoring particular countries: preferential trade terms. ∎ (of a union shop) giving employment preference to union members: a preferential shop. ∎ (of voting or an election) in which the voter puts candidates in order of preference. ∎ (of a creditor) having a claim on the receipt of payment from a debtor that will be met before those of other creditors.DERIVATIVES: pref·er·en·tial·ly adv.