ability is the preserve

Does ‘preserve’ in “…that ability to change a game in an instant which is the preserve of true greatness” grate on your ears? (I would certainly go for ‘trait\mark’ there, but maybe ability could be referred to as the preserve…)

I agree that in that sentence ‘preserve’ does seem to be downgraded as for me it has the sense of ‘inalienable right’. But then it might be used with a touch of irony.


To me, it looks like ‘which is characteristic of true greatness’.

It’s been badly used and as Anglophile suggests ‘characteristic’ would be better.

preserve (of somebody) an activity, a job, an interest, etc. that is thought to be suitable for one particular person or group of people

Football is no longer the preserve of men.
in the days when nursing was a female preserve …
The game of polo was considered to be the preserve of the upper classes

I think it’s worth qualifyng this with the adjective ‘exclusive’.


I doubt because, in that case, it should be ‘… exclusive of the truly great’ rather than ‘true greatness’ in view of the three examples which clearly illustrate the usage of the term.

You have misread me, I fear. I meant that ‘preserve’ in those examples indicates 'exclusive to women, men 'and do on.


If so, yes. But ‘preserve’ does have the meaning intended and so it is acceptable in those examples.

Yes, let’s however not flog a dead horse. I’ll have another go - the examples work but my point is that it isn’t any job/activity/interest but one that is exclusive to men/women etc.


Hi Gussie,

I’ve realigned my poorly aligned sentence. Hopefully it will make more sense to you as it stands now. Sorry about that. I don’t know why half the definition ended up two lines down!

YES. I’m in full accord with you.

Please read the definition now that the end has been joined to the beginning.