Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

prevalent

play
adjective prev·a·lent \ˈpre-və-lənt, ˈprev-lənt\

Simple Definition of prevalent

  • : accepted, done, or happening often or over a large area at a particular time : common or widespread

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of prevalent

  1. 1 archaic :  powerful

  2. 2 :  being in ascendancy :  dominant

  3. 3 :  generally or widely accepted, practiced, or favored :  widespread

prevalent

noun

prevalently

adverb

Examples of prevalent in a sentence

  1. Sweden is known as a nation ridden by suicide and alcoholism, but those problems are no more prevalent here than in most European countries. —John Harris, Rolling Stone, 14 Nov. 2002

  2. Teams seem to him better coached, players more skilled, the strategy even more defensive, the opportunities less prevalent, the game less ripe. —Alec Wilkinson, ESPN, 16 Apr. 2001

  3. So prevalent were grave robberies that the pharaohs' loyal retainers often spirited away their masters' remains for reinterment in secret graves. —Paul Martin, National Geographic Traveler, March 1999

  4. Throughout the Mediterranean culture, which was the matrix of our own, the tree was a prevalent embodiment of the Mother Goddess; … —Francis DuPlessix Gray, UTNE Reader, November/December 1987

  5. a custom that was once prevalent here

  6. Those teaching methods are still prevalent at some schools.

  7. a fashion that is prevalent among teenagers



Did You Know?

Many diseases that were prevalent a century ago have been controlled by advances in medicine. Smallpox was prevalent on several continents for many centuries, and when Europeans brought it with them to the Americas, it killed more American Indians than the armed settlers did. But prevalent doesn't just describe diseases. One ideal of male or female beauty may be prevalent in a particular society and quite a different ideal in another. In the 1950s and '60s, there was a prevalent notion that if you went swimming less than an hour after eating you might drown because of stomach cramps—which goes to show that not every prevalent idea is exactly true.

Origin and Etymology of prevalent

Latin praevalent-, praevalens very powerful, from present participle of praevalēre


First Known Use: 1576


PREVALENT Defined for Kids

prevalent

play
adjective prev·a·lent \ˈpre-və-lənt\

Definition of prevalent for Students

  1. :  accepted, practiced, or happening often or over a wide area <prevalent beliefs>





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up prevalent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to depart quickly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

alphabet-pasta-spelling-help

Which is the correct spelling?

accomodate accommodate acommadate acommodate
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ