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

Examples of prevalence in a Sentence

the prevalence of rumors when hard information is withheld from the public
Recent Examples on the Web The length of the restrictions depends on the virus’ prevalence in the environment, Stout said, so they may be lifted when the state has gone a month or two without any new cases. Jordan Miller, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 May 2022 Spasticity is a common complication following a stroke, but the exact prevalence is hard to pinpoint. Sara Gaynes Levy, SELF, 16 May 2022 As more people are using at-home COVID-19 testing kits, whose results are usually not reported to state public health officials, waste water tests have become a key indicator of the virus’s prevalence. Martin Finucane,, 16 May 2022 Some are very rare, others are not; precise prevalence estimates are notoriously elusive. Daniel Navon, Scientific American, 5 May 2022 According to the federal Department of Health and Human Services, there’s a higher depression prevalence rate among young adults, and college athletes face unique risk factors. Washington Post, 29 Apr. 2022 Ashley Judd related her mother's experiences to maternal health issues throughout the world, touching on the high maternal death rates in the United States, particularly among Black women, and the prevalence of obstetric fistulas in South Sudan. Zoe Sottile, CNN, 7 May 2022 Mental Health America this year ranked the state 45th for prevalence of mental illness among youth and access to treatment. oregonlive, 5 May 2022 In part because of the prevalence of USM available through commercial aircraft retirements, the consumption of USM by commercial airlines is expected to rise steadily for the rest of the decade. Oliver Wyman, Forbes, 26 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of prevalence

1682, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of prevalence was in 1682

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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Prevalence.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2022.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on prevalence

Nglish: Translation of prevalence for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prevalence for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about prevalence


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