- Prevail is to be widespread or victorious.
- 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.
prevail definition by Webster's New World
- 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: Middle English prevaylen ; from Classical Latin praevalere ; from prae-, before (see pre-) plush valere, to be strong: see value
prevail definition by American Heritage Dictionary
intransitive verb pre·vailed, pre·vail·ing, pre·vails
- To be greater in strength or influence; triumph: prevailed against the enemy.
- To be or become effective; win out: hoped justice would prevail.
- 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: Middle 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.
- pre·vailˈer noun