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preserve (v.)

late 14c., "keep safe," from Anglo-French preservare, Old French preserver, from Medieval Latin preservare "keep, preserve," from Late Latin praeservare "guard beforehand," from Latin prae "before" (see pre-) + servare "to keep safe" (from PIE root *ser- (1) "to protect"). As a treatment of fruit, etc., 1570s; of organic bodies from 1610s. Related: Preserved; preserving.

preserve (n.)

"fruit preserved with sugar," c. 1600, from preserve (v.). Earlier it meant "a preservative" (1550s). Sense of "protected place for animals or plants" (a sense more properly belonging to conserve) is from 1807.

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Definitions of preserve from WordNet
1
preserve (v.)
keep or maintain in unaltered condition; cause to remain or last;
preserve the peace in the family
Synonyms: continue / uphold / carry on / bear on
preserve (v.)
keep in safety and protect from harm, decay, loss, or destruction;
We preserve these archeological findings
Synonyms: conserve / maintain / keep up
preserve (v.)
to keep up and reserve for personal or special use;
Synonyms: save
preserve (v.)
prevent (food) from rotting;
preserved meats
Synonyms: keep
preserve (v.)
maintain in safety from injury, harm, or danger;
Synonyms: keep
preserve (v.)
keep undisturbed for personal or private use for hunting, shooting, or fishing;
preserve the forest and the lakes
2
preserve (n.)
a domain that seems to be specially reserved for someone;
medicine is no longer a male preserve
preserve (n.)
a reservation where animals are protected;
preserve (n.)
fruit preserved by cooking with sugar;
Synonyms: conserve / conserves / preserves
From wordnet.princeton.edu