prevail

verb pre·vail \ pri-ˈvāl \

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

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 Synonyms



PREVAIL Defined for English Language Learners

prevail

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

verb pre·vail \ pri-ˈvāl \

Definition of prevail for Students

prevailed; prevailing
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.

Law Dictionary

prevail

intransitive verb 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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to suppress quietly or indirectly

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