prevail

verb
pre·​vail | \ pri-ˈvāl \
prevailed; prevailing; prevails

Definition of prevail

intransitive verb

1 : to gain ascendancy through strength or superiority : triumph
2 : to be or become effective or effectual
3 : to use persuasion successfully prevailed on him to sing
4 : to be frequent : predominate the west winds that prevail in the mountains
5 : to be or continue in use or fashion : persist a custom that still prevails

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Synonyms & Antonyms for prevail

Synonyms

conquer, triumph, win

Antonyms

lose

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Examples of prevail in a Sentence

Mutual respect prevails among students and teachers here. The house was built in the style that prevailed in the 1980s. The law still prevails in some states.
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Recent Examples on the Web

In Erfurt, traditional Christmas markets prevail Erfurt is Thuringia’s capital city, as well as its largest city overall, with a population of over 200,000. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Touring Germany’s Most Festive Christmas Markets," 18 Dec. 2018 Ocasio-Cortez is far from the only politician from modest means who has struggled to find a new home after prevailing on Election Day. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a point about housing for Congress," 21 Nov. 2018 In the ballet world, where binary gender roles have prevailed onstage and off, the statistics have been especially egregious. Amy Fine Collins, Marie Claire, "Female Choreographers Take Center Stage at American Ballet Theater," 10 Oct. 2018 If the groups prevail, the court could order a new deadline, a requirement that tends to carry more weight. Heidi Vogt, WSJ, "Trump Administration Sued Over Giraffes and Endangered Species List," 6 Dec. 2018 If Harris prevails, Republicans will continue to hold 10 of the 13 seats within the North Carolina delegation. Gary D. Robertson, The Seattle Times, "North Carolina board delays finalizing congressional result," 27 Nov. 2018 But if the Justice Department ultimately prevails in its appeal, AT&T would have to detach the Time Warner business, now renamed Warner Media. New York Times, "AT&T-Time Warner Deal Approval Gets Justice Department Challenge," 12 July 2018 But if the Justice Department ultimately prevails in its appeal, AT&T would have to detach the Time Warner business, now renamed Warner Media. BostonGlobe.com, "Justice Department plans appeal of AT&T-Time Warner merger approval," 12 July 2018 But even if the nominee prevails, the argument won’t entirely end: Collins’ current term in the Senate, her fourth, runs up in 2020. David Lauter, latimes.com, "As Trump readies Supreme Court pick, Democrats prepare a fight even though a loss is likely," 6 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of prevail

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for prevail

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

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Statistics for prevail

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prevail

The first known use of prevail was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for prevail

prevail

verb

English Language Learners Definition of prevail

: 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

verb
pre·​vail | \ pri-ˈvāl \
prevailed; prevailing

Kids Definition of prevail

1 : to succeed in convincing Students prevailed upon the teacher to extend recess.
2 : to be or become usual, common, or widespread West winds prevail in that region.
3 : to win against opposition Good will prevail over evil.
pre·​vail | \ pri-ˈvāl \

Legal Definition of prevail

1 : to obtain substantially the relief or action sought in a lawsuit
2 : to be frequent or predominant the prevailing rate

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More from Merriam-Webster on prevail

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prevail

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prevail

Spanish Central: Translation of prevail

Nglish: Translation of prevail for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prevail for Arabic Speakers

Comments on prevail

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