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

After all, bullying in high schools is so prevalent. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "What Ross Butler Says About Zach's Tape Will Change the Way You Think About "13 Reasons Why" Completely," 11 May 2017 Deaths and injuries spiked for children under 5, and were more prevalent in Southern states, the research shows. Jeff Martin, The Seattle Times, "4-year-old boy finds gun under couch, kills himself with it," 9 July 2018 Former tight end Martellus Bennett thought the number was even higher in the NFL, where injuries and physical pain are more prevalent. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "Former NBA, NFL athletes estimate marijuana use among players is higher than 80%," 20 Apr. 2018 Inner-city communities where poverty is most prevalent are plagued with high unemployment, crime and violence, low-performing schools, blight, poor health and hopelessness. kansascity, "Jean Paul Bradshaw," 30 June 2018 Twelve years from now, the first millennials will be turning 49, Gen Xers will begin turning 65 and the first boomers will be turning 84 — an age at which dementia is most prevalent., "AARP invests $60M to fund research for cures to dementia and Alzheimer's," 25 June 2018 The most prevalent stereotypes that crossed partisan and ideological lines of Muslims included their religiosity, outdated views of women and views of gays and lesbians. Fiza Pirani, ajc, "Nearly 1-in-5 Americans would deny Muslim American citizens the right to vote, new report finds," 11 June 2018 Gonorrhea, a treatable bacterial infection, is most prevalent among people ages 15 to 30, Jones said. Tegan Hanlon, Anchorage Daily News, "‘Kind of alarming’: Number of new gonorrhea cases in Alaska skyrockets in 2017," 29 May 2018 The elaborate aesthetic was prevalent across a range of disciplines, including furniture, architecture, fine art, pottery, and glassware. Monique Valeris, ELLE Decor, "Here's Everything You Need to Know About Art Nouveau Design," 28 Mar. 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

9 Jun 2019

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

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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).


to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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