- When there is a general atmosphere of sadness in a town, this is an example of when sadness prevails.
- When a politician wins an election, this is an example of when heprevails over his opponent.
- to gain the advantage or mastery; be victorious; triumph: often with over or against
- to produce or achieve the desired effect; be effective; succeed
- to be or become stronger or more widespread; predominate
- to exist widely; be prevalent
Origin of prevailMiddle English prevaylen ; from Classical Latin praevalere ; from prae-, before (see pre-) + valere, to be strong: see value
- to persuade or induce; appeal to
- to make use of for one's own benefit: to prevail on a friend's good nature
intransitive verbpre·vailed, pre·vail·ing, pre·vails
- To be greater in strength or influence; triumph: The home team prevailed against the visitors. Shouldn't the public interest prevail over an individual's?
- To be most common or frequent; be predominant: a region where snow and ice prevail.
- To be in force, use, or effect; be current: an ancient tradition that still prevails.
- To use persuasion or inducement successfully. Often used with on, upon, or with. See Synonyms at persuade.
Origin of prevailMiddle English prevailen, from Old French prevaloir, prevaill-, from Latin praevalēre, to be stronger : prae-, pre- + valēre, to be strong; see wal- in Indo-European roots.
(third-person singular simple present prevails, present participle prevailing, simple past and past participle prevailed)
- (intransitive) To be superior in strength, dominance, influence or frequency; to have or gain the advantage over others; to have the upper hand; to outnumber others.
- Red colour prevails in the Canadian flag.
- (intransitive) To be current, widespread or predominant; to have currency or prevalence.
- In his day and age, such practices prevailed all over Europe.
- (intransitive) To succeed in persuading or inducing.
- I prevailed on him to wait.
From Middle English prevailen, from Old French prevaler, from Latin praevaleÅ (“be very able or more able, be superior, prevail"), from prae (“before") + valeÅ (“be able or powerful").