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 One study looked at more than 9,000 facilities and found that most outbreaks happened inside homes where the virus was prevalent in the outside community. Simon Montlake, The Christian Science Monitor, "How could nursing homes have done better?," 14 Sep. 2020 Cases of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, appears to be prevalent among Big Ten athletes, said Penn State's director of athletic medicine, impacting roughly a third of all athletes who have tested positive for the coronavirus. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "Penn State doctor says 30-35% of Big Ten athletes positive for COVID-19 had myocarditis symptoms," 3 Sep. 2020 Two teams in Florida, a state where the virus was prevalent throughout the summer, will have fans while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won’t. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "Is It Safe to Go to a Live Sporting Event? These NFL Teams Say Yes," 3 Sep. 2020 The past few months have brought a greater focus to issues that have been prevalent in society for years. Joseph Goodman |, al, "Players harness power of Alabama football in historic march," 1 Sep. 2020 Agents continue to speak about the possibility of both sign-and-trades and one-year deals being prevalent. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Who will Cleveland Cavaliers pick at No. 5 in NBA Draft? Hey, Chris!," 30 Aug. 2020 Undiagnosed diabetes is prevalent due to its often asymptomatic early stages, said Kaelyn Bujnoch, community relations manager at Houston Methodist Hospital in Sugar Land. Claire Goodman, Houston Chronicle, "Diabetes and COVID-19: Houston Methodist Hospital Sugar Land to host free educational seminar," 25 Aug. 2020 Fellow Georgia native and Orioles outfielder Dwight Smith Jr. grew up in an area where Confederate flags were prevalent. Jon Meoli,, "‘Right time to speak up’: Orioles strive for racial equality, social justice with help from Players Alliance," 15 Aug. 2020 The pop in prices earlier this year made more sense since gold often tends to do well in times of financial stress, when fear is prevalent. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Stocks can hold onto gains. But it won't be easy," 8 July 2020

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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Time Traveler for prevalent

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for prevalent

Last Updated

18 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prevalent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for prevalent


How to pronounce prevalent (audio)

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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