pre·​dom·​i·​nant pri-ˈdä-mə-nənt How to pronounce predominant (audio)
: having superior strength, influence, or authority : prevailing
: being most frequent or common

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Predominant vs. Predominate

Predominant and predominate are synonymous adjectives. Predominant is the older and much more common form. A number of handbooks and commentators hold predominate to be a mistake—a few insisting that the word is only a verb. But they are wrong. As an adjective predominate is somewhat more likely to turn up in technical writing than in general writing. The adverbs predominantly and predominately are a more even match in frequency than their base adjectives are, although predominantly is still significantly more common than predominately.

Choose the Right Synonym for predominant

dominant, predominant, paramount, preponderant mean superior to all others in influence or importance.

dominant applies to something that is uppermost because ruling or controlling.

a dominant social class

predominant applies to something that exerts, often temporarily, the most marked influence.

a predominant emotion

paramount implies supremacy in importance, rank, or jurisdiction.

unemployment was the paramount issue in the campaign

preponderant applies to an element or factor that outweighs all others in influence or effect.

preponderant evidence in her favor

Examples of predominant in a Sentence

Religion is the predominant theme of the play. She is predominant among new writers.
Recent Examples on the Web School libraries had long been the predominant target, but in 2023 reports have been near-equally divided between schools and libraries open to the general public, the ALA announced Wednesday. Hillel Italie, The Christian Science Monitor, 20 Sep. 2023 But when the screens became stowaways in our purses and pockets, this predominant metaphor, however problematic, shifted. WIRED, 19 Sep. 2023 One of the predominant strains is called EG.5, which accounts for about 22% of new cases. Berkeley Lovelace Jr., NBC News, 11 Sep. 2023 Longline and pot are two other predominant methods. Maggie Nelson, Anchorage Daily News, 8 Sep. 2023 While these centenarians aren't necessarily completely vegan, their diets do have a predominant focus on plants. Good Housekeeping, 8 Sep. 2023 Proponents have argued the legislation aims to level the playing field between news publishers that have experienced falling revenue and tech giants who are predominant beneficiaries of the digital advertising market. Ian Livingston, Washington Post, 18 Aug. 2023 Wastewater testing shows that the predominant strains of COVID-19 in Wisconsin last month were the XBB lineage, according to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. Sarah Volpenhein, Journal Sentinel, 1 Sep. 2023 Fog was the predominant weather feature in the region the evening of the crash, according to the National Weather Service. Dennis Romero, NBC News, 24 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'predominant.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle French, from Medieval Latin praedominant-, praedominans, present participle of praedominari to predominate, from Latin prae- + dominari to rule, govern — more at dominate

First Known Use

1576, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of predominant was in 1576

Dictionary Entries Near predominant

Cite this Entry

“Predominant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


pre·​dom·​i·​nant pri-ˈdäm-ə-nənt How to pronounce predominant (audio)
: greater in importance, strength, influence, or authority : prevailing
the predominant color in a painting
predominantly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on predominant

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