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 While online shopping has become a staple of Christmas shopping, the prevalence of deliveries has brought out thieves looking to grab packages off the porch. Leada Gore |, al, "Beware porch pirates: How to protect your holiday deliveries," 3 Dec. 2019 In other words, the most common and critical vulnerabilities in tech today, based on a combination of prevalence and severity. Wired, "Security News This Week: The 25 Most Dangerous Software Vulnerabilities, According to DHS," 30 Nov. 2019 The prevalence of diabetes in Texas has increased 40 percent over the past decade and the number of people with diabetes is projected to reach nearly 8 million by 2040, according to a new report by the Texas Diabetes Council. Laura Garcia,, "FDA seeks to clear hurdles for biosimilar insulin in attempt to cut costs for diabetes patients," 28 Nov. 2019 The rise of digital technology—with its promise to eradicate issues of distance—has perhaps exposed the prevalence and unspoken acceptance of geographical narcissism. Timothy Baker, Quartz at Work, "The special kind of narcissism that makes city people feel superior," 27 Nov. 2019 Tony Magana, chief of neurosurgery at Mekelle University School of Medicine in Ethiopia’s Tigray province, confronts his country’s high prevalence of neural tube defects nearly every day. Meredith Wadman, Science | AAAS, "Could adding folic acid to salt curb Ethiopia's sky-high rate of spinal cord deformities?," 25 Nov. 2019 But in doing so Republicans risk worsening air pollution in areas like Houston, where the prevalence of industrial facilities along the Houston Ship Channel has long caused the city to fall beneath federal air quality standards. James Osborne, Houston Chronicle, "Senate weighs overhaul of air pollution law," 6 Nov. 2019 That was despite infighting within its ranks and a host of social ills ranging from inequality to a high rate of HIV-prevalence. Antony Sguazzin,, "Botswana Opposition Leader Says Vote Was Rigged, Plans Challenge," 30 Oct. 2019 Today autism’s prevalence is one in every 59 children. Don Stacom,, "New Britain’s Hospital for Special Care starts work on $13.6 million autism unit," 29 Oct. 2019

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

7 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Prevalence.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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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