Definition of prevail
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
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.
Recent Examples of prevail from the Web
Fred A. Kummerow, a scientist who fought the food industry and prevailing medical practices for decades until his early warnings about the dangers of trans fats were finally vindicated, died May 31 at his home in Urbana, Ill.
Yet school bathrooms have always been sites of contestation, where prevailing cultural anxieties have been projected onto them.
The resistance among short sellers seems to be consistent with the defensive stance prevailing in the market.
The resistance among short sellers, while at odds with their own behavior in the past, seems to be consistent with the defensive stance prevailing the market.
Forward Cali Vanderplow opened the scoring in the 19th minute, and midfielder Tess Sobol added a pair in the second half to allow the Hornets to prevail 3-1 on a wet evening.
In the power-versus-power matchup, Glover prevailed.
The growing rift threatens to tear apart a few marriages, but there’s never really any doubt about the couples’ eventual reunion, let alone which side will prevail.
But the surprise at that horror ought not to prevail.
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
First Known Use: 14th century
PREVAIL Defined for English Language Learners
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
Definition of prevail for Students
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.
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
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).