prev·​a·​lent | \ ˈpre-və-lənt How to pronounce prevalent (audio) , ˈprev-lənt\

Definition of prevalent

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

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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

Those fire suppression policies were not particularly prevalent in Canada's vast boreal forest, which makes up roughly three-quarters of all forested area in the country. Amanda Coletta, Anchorage Daily News, "Canada’s wildfire season is off to a ferocious start," 11 June 2019 The use of psychedelics isn’t prevalent in Oakland. Sarah Ravani,, "Oakland decriminalizes shrooms and other natural psychedelics," 4 June 2019 Gorillas in zoos have also been found to exhibit high rates of heart disease, not prevalent among wild gorillas, researchers told The Atlantic. Hannah Rodriguez, The Seattle Times, "New ape in town: Kwame makes rare alpha-male debut at Woodland Park Zoo," 9 Nov. 2018 Growing up, physical health and nutrition weren’t prevalent topics of conversation in my household. Brandon T. Harden,, "Why this running-averse guy is training for Philly's Broad Street Run and inviting you to join him," 1 Feb. 2018 In addition, rip currents could be more prevalent until the beginning of next week, Alan Dunham, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said. Maria Lovato,, "Swimmers on Cape Cod and Islands and Cape Ann in Gloucester face high risk of rip currents," 26 Aug. 2019 And that’s also why dry eye is more prevalent in women than in men. Catie Wegman,, "Dry eye on the rise: What to know about the chronic disease," 8 July 2019 Labor-intensive jobs that are prominent in those areas often preclude folks from working later into life, and the types of white collar jobs that are more prevalent in larger cities are in shorter supply. Andrew Soergel,, "Seniors more likely to work longer in big metropolitan areas, analysis of Census data shows," 10 June 2019 Food insecurity is much more prevalent in our community than most people are aware. Dominik Dumancic/share,, "GO Pantry summer food drive helps children in Northern Kentucky," 6 June 2019

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 3

History and Etymology for prevalent

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

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Statistics for prevalent

Last Updated

15 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for prevalent

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 How to pronounce prevalent (audio) \

Kids Definition of prevalent

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

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Comments on prevalent

What made you want to look up prevalent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

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