prevail

verb
pre·​vail | \ pri-ˈvāl How to pronounce prevail (audio) \
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

The country has struggled with tepid economic growth of late and has seen the value of its oil exports drop as petroleum prices have fallen from levels prevailing several years ago. Ryan Dube, WSJ, "IMF, Development Banks Agree to $10.2 Billion Bailout for Ecuador," 21 Feb. 2019 There are a couple prevailing theories to explain this process. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics, "The New Science of the Sun Will Be Astounding—And Possibly Terrifying," 9 Aug. 2018 ARGENTINA Group stage: 1-1-1, second place in Group D Last-16 Opponent: France; Saturday, June 30 (10 a.m. ET) Which aspect of Argentina will prevail? Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "World Cup Round of 16 Power Rankings: Who Has Best Shot to Win it All?," 29 June 2018 For one thing, they aren’t saddled with high legacy costs from the construction of big power plants or long-term contracts for renewable power at the high prices that prevailed just a few years ago. Michael Hiltzik, latimes.com, "Consumer choice has suddenly revolutionized the electricity business in California. But utilities are striking back," 8 June 2018 Thirty-five horses have won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, but only 12 of those prevailed at the Belmont Stakes to complete the Triple Crown. Nick Talbot, San Antonio Express-News, "Writer’s Roundtable: Who should Longhorns play? Alabama or Texas A&M?," 26 May 2018 Word is some of Mill’s celebrity friends, including Jay-Z, prevailed upon him to steer clear of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Mark Shanahan, BostonGlobe.com, "Robert Kraft’s pal Meek Mill backs out of White House meeting," 18 May 2018 Cultural fit, or comfort with the company’s prevailing values and beliefs, is one traditional yardstick, but that approach risks building a workforce that lacks diversity and is slow to innovate or question the status quo. Sue Shellenbarger, WSJ, "Companies Hire on Potential—If Only They Knew What That Meant," 12 Mar. 2019 The high court has said these factors, named after a former death row inmate named Jose Briseno, have no grounding in prevailing medical practice and invite lay stereotypes to guide assessment of such disability. Juan A. Lozano, The Seattle Times, "Supreme Court rules out death penalty for Texas inmate," 19 Feb. 2019

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

12 Apr 2019

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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

formal
: 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 How to pronounce prevail (audio) \
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 How to pronounce prevail (audio) \

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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