prevail

play
verb pre·vail \pri-ˈvāl\

Definition of prevail

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1 :  to gain ascendancy through strength or superiority :  triumph

  3. 2 :  to be or become effective or effectual

  4. 3 :  to use persuasion successfully prevailed on him to sing

  5. 4 :  to be frequent :  predominate the west winds that prevail in the mountains

  6. 5 :  to be or continue in use or fashion :  persist a custom that still prevails

Examples of prevail in a Sentence

  1. Mutual respect prevails among students and teachers here.

  2. The house was built in the style that prevailed in the 1980s.

  3. The law still prevails in some states.

Recent Examples of prevail from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prevail'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of prevail

Middle English, from Latin praevalēre, from prae- pre- + valēre to be strong — more at wield



PREVAIL Defined for English Language Learners

prevail

play
verb

Definition of prevail for English Language Learners

  • : to defeat an opponent especially in a long or difficult contest

  • : to be usual, common, or popular

  • : to be or continue to be in use


PREVAIL Defined for Kids

prevail

play
verb pre·vail \pri-ˈvāl\

Definition of prevail for Students

prevailed

;

prevailing

  1. 1 :  to succeed in convincing Students prevailed upon the teacher to extend recess.

  2. 2 :  to be or become usual, common, or widespread West winds prevail in that region.

  3. 3 :  to win against opposition Good will prevail over evil.


Law Dictionary

prevail

play
intransitive verb pre·vail \pri-ˈvāl\

Legal Definition of prevail

  1. 1 :  to obtain substantially the relief or action sought in a lawsuit

  2. 2 :  to be frequent or predominant the prevailing rate



Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

an incorrigible rascal

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

  • istock-refers-to-this-as-a-tumble-of-strawberries-which-sounded-pretty-nice-to-us
  • Which is a synonym of garner?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!