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

While Lyme disease is the most prevalent, other diseases are catching up. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Reducing your risk of Lyme disease as the threat increases," 10 July 2018 It shouldn’t be used as a reminder that America is failing to protect its students from the nation’s increasingly prevalent school shootings. Spencer Whitney,, "Last Word: Solemn graduation gift," 9 June 2018 That's often left addict parents to fend for themselves in a state where getting tough on crime is a common, if not prevalent, approach toward law enforcement. Brian Slodysko, Post-Tribune, "Report: Parent drug use factor in many child welfare cases," 23 June 2018 At the same time, the tradition of the bride’s parents contributing is still very prevalent, especially in particular regions. Priya Rao, Vogue, "Who Pays For The Wedding? A Guide To Deciding Who Pays For What," 20 June 2018 As in many communities, the stigma around mental health issues in Hispanic communities is especially prevalent. Hanaa’ Tameez And Rodger Mallison, star-telegram, "Mexican-Americans show signs of Alzheimer's 10 years earlier than others, study says," 19 June 2018 These books are prevalent in religious and charter schools across America, despite the fact that the lessons often don’t pass the academic standards of many state and local school systems. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Slaves, Dinosaurs and White Jesus, Oh My! How Taxpayers Fund Crazy Christian Conservative Education," 12 June 2018 Among the 1,212 active ultrarunners in the study, injuries were also more prevalent among younger (under age 40), less-experienced runners. David G. Allan, CNN, "The infamous murderer's prison escape that inspired a near-impossible ultramarathon," 26 May 2018 With the new Indy cars, drafting and passing is a more prevalent, and Power is on guard from the start. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Will Power's IndyCar Grand Prix win looked effortless but took everything he had," 12 May 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

13 Oct 2018

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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 \

Kids Definition of prevalent

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

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