prev·​a·​lent | \ ˈpre-və-lənt , ˈprev-lənt\

Definition of prevalent

1 archaic : powerful
2 : being in ascendancy : dominant
3 : generally or widely accepted, practiced, or favored : widespread

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Other Words from prevalent

prevalent noun
prevalently adverb

How Should You Use prevalent?

Many diseases that were prevalent a century ago have been controlled by advances in medicine. Smallpox was prevalent on several continents for many centuries, and when Europeans brought it with them to the Americas, it killed more American Indians than the armed settlers did. But prevalent doesn't just describe diseases. One ideal of male or female beauty may be prevalent in a particular society and quite a different ideal in another. In the 1950s and '60s, there was a prevalent notion that if you went swimming less than an hour after eating you might drown because of stomach cramps—which goes to show that not every prevalent idea is exactly true.

Examples of prevalent in a Sentence

Sweden is known as a nation ridden by suicide and alcoholism, but those problems are no more prevalent here than in most European countries. — John Harris, Rolling Stone, 14 Nov. 2002 Teams seem to him better coached, players more skilled, the strategy even more defensive, the opportunities less prevalent, the game less ripe. — Alec Wilkinson, ESPN, 16 Apr. 2001 So prevalent were grave robberies that the pharaohs' loyal retainers often spirited away their masters' remains for reinterment in secret graves. — Paul Martin, National Geographic Traveler, March 1999 Throughout the Mediterranean culture, which was the matrix of our own, the tree was a prevalent embodiment of the Mother Goddess;  … — Francis DuPlessix Gray, UTNE Reader, November/December 1987 a custom that was once prevalent here Those teaching methods are still prevalent at some schools. a fashion that is prevalent among teenagers
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Recent Examples on the Web

Alt-right, xenophobic, and Anti-Semitic content is particularly prevalent on Seen. Casey Newton, The Verge, "One way Twitter’s ad archive improves on Facebook’s," 3 Nov. 2018 Insect pestsare generally less prevalent in fall than in spring. Kris Wetherbee, Good Housekeeping, "6 Things You Need to Know Before Growing Broccoli," 23 July 2018 Most any week the theater provides a college seminar's worth of social-justice studies, but the conversations are particularly prevalent now in L.A.'s smaller theaters. Daryl H. Miller,, "The 99-Seat Beat: Social justice as taught by imprisoned women, 'Native Son,' 'The Immigrant' and Henry VIII," 20 Apr. 2018 The women the Greeks called Amazons were particularly prevalent among the nomadic, horse-riding peoples of Central Asia, where ballads about heroic women fighters are deeply embedded in the culture of Uzbekistan and neighboring countries. Andrew Higgins, New York Times, "Mighty Women Warriors, Resurrected From an Ancient Epic," 19 Mar. 2018 Many pediatricians are overwhelmed by seeing so many children with morbidities that were far less prevalent a couple decades ago. Sandy Bauers,, "5 questions: Does your child have nature-deficit disorder?," 15 Mar. 2018 What’s more, the damage caused by the trade war is being felt most deeply in areas where Democrats are prevalent. James Bacchus, WSJ, "Democrats, Free Trade Is Your Destiny," 3 Dec. 2018 Conspiracies surrounding Soros have been prevalent since the 1990s. Jameelah Nasheed, Teen Vogue, "After Years of George Soros Conspiracy Theories, Someone Targeted His Home with an Explosive Device," 23 Oct. 2018 The plot also revealed how Jack's time in combat contributed to his parenting, and how his health issues were prevalent long before the fatal house fire. Eileen Reslen, Good Housekeeping, "10 Significant Moments You Missed From 'This Is Us' Last Night," 17 Oct. 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for prevalent

Latin praevalent-, praevalens very powerful, from present participle of praevalēre

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Statistics for prevalent

Last Updated

3 Feb 2019

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The first known use of prevalent was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for prevalent



English Language Learners Definition of prevalent

: accepted, done, or happening often or over a large area at a particular time : common or widespread


prev·​a·​lent | \ ˈpre-və-lənt \

Kids Definition of prevalent

: accepted, practiced, or happening often or over a wide area prevalent beliefs

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