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Offer vs Proffer vs Tender vs Present vs Prefer

Offerproffertenderpresentprefer can all mean to lay, set, or put something before another for acceptance.

Offer, the most common of these words, frequently implies a putting before one something which may be accepted or rejected.

Proffer differs from offer chiefly in more consistently implying a putting or setting before one something that one is at liberty to accept or reject and in usually stressing voluntariness, spontaneity, or courtesy on the part of the agent.

Tender was originally and still is a term in legal use meaning to offer something to the court or to a person concerned, according to the terms of the law, for formal acceptance or approval.

In general use tender differs from offer and proffer in carrying a stronger connotation of modesty, humility, or gentleness on the part of the one who makes the offer. Tender, however, is the idiomatic or polite term in certain collocations.

Present (see also GIVE ) carries a stronger implication of ceremonious exhibition or of outward show than any of the preceding terms; otherwise it often suggests little more than offer in the sense of to lay or put before one for consideration, selection, or approval or for one's use or pleasure.

Prefer (see also CHOOSE ) is disused in the sense of proffer or present except in some legal use, although common in writing up to late in the nineteenth century.