- to be widespread or current; exist everywhere or generally: Silence prevailed along the funeral route.
- to appear or occur as the more important or frequent feature or element; predominate: Green tints prevail in the upholstery.
- to be or prove superior in strength, power, or influence (usually followed by over): They prevailed over their enemies in the battle.
- to succeed; become dominant; win out: to wish that the right side might prevail.
- to use persuasion or inducement successfully: He prevailed upon us to accompany him.
Origin of prevail
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for prevail
As McCain so eloquently stated Monday, we must not “risk our national honor to prevail in this or any war.”Why the Muslim World Isn’t Flipping Out Over the CIA Torture Report
December 12, 2014
These fanatical groups wish to create fundamentalist enclaves in which some version of Sharia law will prevail.Can We Lose the Violent Muslim Cliché?
October 12, 2014
Then, a Perry campaign has to prevail in the general election.Rick Perry: America’s Next Top Strategist?
September 20, 2014
Singer, a formidable Hollywood legal pugilist, said ultimately that “we [he and Travolta] will prevail in this action.”Dear John, It Gets Better: A Letter to Travolta
July 24, 2014
The natural American impulse is to search for solutions, for policies that can prevail against these upheavals.Here’s What the U.S. Has to Do to Deal With the Mad Middle East
Leslie H. Gelb
July 16, 2014
Your efforts will not prevail; for our gates shall for ever deny you admittance.The Adventures of Colonel Daniel Boone
It must be a miserable imposture, indeed, that does not prevail in that contest.
Lady Booby was going to call her back again, but could not prevail with herself.Joseph Andrews Vol. 1
Then shall I prevail upon her, no doubt, if loth before, to fly.Clarissa, Volume 3 (of 9)
I cannot act entirely on my own judgment, but I assure you that in the end my judgment will prevail.The Inn at the Red Oak
- (often foll by over or against) to prove superior; gain masteryskill will prevail
- to be or appear as the most important feature; be prevalent
- to exist widely; be in force
- (often foll by on or upon) to succeed in persuading or inducing
Word Origin and History for prevail
c.1400, "be successful; be efficacious," from Old French prevaleir (Modern French prévaloir) and directly from Latin praevalere "be stronger, have greater power," from prae "before" (see pre-) + valere "have power, be strong" (see valiant). Spelling in English perhaps influenced by avail. Related: Prevailed; prevailing.