prev·​a·​lence | \ ˈpre-və-lən(t)s How to pronounce prevalence (audio) , ˈprev-lən(t)s \

Definition of prevalence

1 : the quality or state of being prevalent
2 : the degree to which something is prevalent especially : the percentage of a population that is affected with a particular disease at a given time

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Examples of prevalence in a Sentence

the prevalence of rumors when hard information is withheld from the public
Recent Examples on the Web Cevik cautiously says no—decisions should still be driven by the local prevalence of Covid-19 cases, and the same mitigation measures should be adequate, if strictly followed. Megan Molteni, Wired, "Everything We Know Now About Schools, Kids, and Covid-19," 15 Jan. 2021 If community prevalence rises to unmanageable levels — a likely proposition, given the surge in most states — even elementary schools may be forced to close. New York Times, "What Does a More Contagious Virus Mean for Schools?," 14 Jan. 2021 And the prevalence of anosmia, which has long been associated with viral illnesses, suggests that the coronavirus has the potential to cause lasting effects on cognitive function., "Express Briefing: What loss of smell tells us about COVID’s effect on the brain," 12 Jan. 2021 The approach has returned to prevalence over the past year, as top radio companies like iHeartMedia and Entercom have lost revenue due to the pandemic and laid off hundreds in cities of all sizes. Steve Knopper, Billboard, "Inside Radio's Outsourcing Movement: 'Voice-Tracking' DJs Are Working Faster for Less," 11 Jan. 2021 And yet the prevalence of the virus varies block by block, and some blocks are more vulnerable than others. Jay Caspian Kang, The New Yorker, "What the San Francisco Bay Area Can Teach Us About Fighting a Pandemic," 4 Jan. 2021 The United Way of Salt Lake focuses on the capital city, which has seen the highest prevalence of virus cases. Courtney Tanner, The Salt Lake Tribune, "This is where you can donate food, time or money in Utah to help those experiencing hunger," 1 Jan. 2021 The apocalyptic images, some said, could offer a glimpse of the future if governments do not better adapt to the threat of climate change, to which the prevalence of wildfires has been linked. Washington Post, "2020 was a remarkably difficult year — not only because of the pandemic," 30 Dec. 2020 The Johns Hopkins APL researchers hope to take a deeper look at COVID-19 antibody prevalence among various demographic and occupational groups within the county population, said APL project manager Teresa Colella. Alison Knezevich,, "A Maryland county offered antibody tests to all its employees. They learned their COVID precautions are working.," 24 Dec. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prevalence.' 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 prevalence

1682, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for prevalence

Time Traveler

The first known use of prevalence was in 1682

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Statistics for prevalence

Last Updated

21 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prevalence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for prevalence


prev·​a·​lence | \ ˈpre-və-ləns How to pronounce prevalence (audio) \

Kids Definition of prevalence

: the state of happening, being accepted, or being practiced often or over a wide area


prev·​a·​lence | \ ˈprev(-ə)-lən(t)s How to pronounce prevalence (audio) \

Medical Definition of prevalence

: the percentage of a population that is affected with a particular disease at a given time — compare incidence sense 2b

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