Dictionary.com

prevail

[ pri-veyl ]
/ prɪˈveɪl /
Save This Word!
See synonyms for: prevail / prevailed / prevailing / prevails on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
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.
QUIZ
CAN YOU ANSWER THESE COMMON GRAMMAR DEBATES?
There are grammar debates that never die; and the ones highlighted in the questions in this quiz are sure to rile everyone up once again. Do you know how to answer the questions that cause some of the greatest grammar debates?
Question 1 of 7
Which sentence is correct?

Origin of prevail

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English prevayllen “to grow very strong,” from Latin praevalēre “to be more able,” equivalent to prae- “before, in front” + valēre “to be strong”; see pre-, prevalent

historical usage of prevail

English prevail comes from the Middle French verb prévaloir, prévaler “to have the advantage, dominate” and Latin praevalēre “to have superior force, weight, or influence, to have the upper hand.” Praevalēre is a compound verb formed from the prefix prae- meaning “before, in front, preeminent” (as here) and valēre “to be powerful, be strong, be strong enough.”
Nearly all of the Middle English spelling variants of Modern English prevail, e.g., prevailen, prevaile, provaile, have their -ai- spelling not from prévaloir, but from Middle English availen “to be of use or advantage” (Modern English avail ).

OTHER WORDS FROM prevail

pre·vail·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use prevail in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for prevail

prevail
/ (prɪˈveɪl) /

verb (intr)
(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

Derived forms of prevail

prevailer, noun

Word Origin for prevail

C14: from Latin praevalēre to be superior in strength, from prae beyond + valēre to be strong
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
FEEDBACK