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

Midwestern states have some of the highest binge-drinking rates in terms of both prevalence and intensity, putting millions of people at risk. USA TODAY, "Alcohol-soaked American culture faces a countertrend: Sober bars, parties and raves," 2 July 2019 In addition, there was a decrease in the prevalence of precancerous cells in the cervix, which can develop into cancer. NBC News, "HPV vaccine benefits 'exceed expectations,' may lead to elimination of cervical cancer," 27 June 2019 The obesity epidemic and related rise in the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes are key culprits in the new wave of cardiovascular disease mortality, researchers and cardiologists say. Betsy Mckay, WSJ, "Heart Attack at 49—America’s Biggest Killer Makes a Deadly Comeback," 21 June 2019 But the prevalence — and importance — of early-season tournaments means most of those games are played on neutral sites. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State basketball's date with Duke a reminder of what Tom Izzo has built," 8 June 2019 The researchers found significant differences in prevalence with respect to race/ethnicity and gender. Fox News, "ADHD diagnoses may be rising in US," 31 Aug. 2018 Researchers found that the prevalence of ADHD diagnoses in children and adolescents (ages 4 to 17) rose from 6.1 percent in 1997–1998 to 10.2 percent in 2015–2016. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "Why Are So Many More Children Being Diagnosed With ADHD Today?," 24 Sep. 2018 Already, the prevalence of annual marijuana use among students in the eighth, 10th and 12th grades has risen significantly since last year. Patrick Kennedy And, WSJ, "This Is No Time to Go to Pot," 14 June 2018 The prevalence of severe obesity in American adults is also rising, heightening their risks of developing heart disease, diabetes and various cancers. Matt Richtel And Andrew Jacobs, New York Times, "American Adults Just Keep Getting Fatter," 23 Mar. 2018

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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Statistics for prevalence

Last Updated

6 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for prevalence

The first known use of prevalence was in 1682

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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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Comments on prevalence

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characterized by aphorism

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