definitions
  • synonyms

prevail

[ pri-veyl ]
/ prɪˈveɪl /
||
SEE MORE SYNONYMS FOR prevail 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.

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RELATED WORDS

prove, beat, win, reign, succeed, overcome, triumph, abound, preponderate, obtain, command, gain, master, carry, conquer, domineer, overrule, best, predominate

Nearby words

pretty-pretty, pretypify, pretzel, preussen, prev., prevail, prevail on, prevailing, prevailing westerlies, prevailing wind, prevailingly

Origin of prevail

1350–1400; Middle English prevayllen to grow very strong < Latin praevalēre to be more able, equivalent to prae- pre- + valēre to be strong; see prevalent
SYNONYMS FOR prevail
Related formspre·vail·er, noun

Word story

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 ).
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for prevail

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 Formsprevailer, 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

Word Origin and History for prevail

prevail


v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper