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See more synonyms for prevail on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to be widespread or current; exist everywhere or generally: Silence prevailed along the funeral route.
  2. to appear or occur as the more important or frequent feature or element; predominate: Green tints prevail in the upholstery.
  3. to be or prove superior in strength, power, or influence (usually followed by over): They prevailed over their enemies in the battle.
  4. to succeed; become dominant; win out: to wish that the right side might prevail.
  5. to use persuasion or inducement successfully: He prevailed upon us to accompany him.
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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
Related formspre·vail·er, noun


See more synonyms for prevail on Thesaurus.com
2. preponderate. 3. overcome.


3. lose.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for prevailed

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Wise counsels, like those which gave us the Constitution, prevailed to uphold it.

  • And to the violence which prevailed was added the most unblushing bribery.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • I did not intend to write; but your too-kind sister has prevailed upon me.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • My humanity gave way for some time; but God was with me, and in the end I prevailed.

    Biography of a Slave

    Charles Thompson

  • But in the end he prevailed on her to promise not to leave the city until she had seen him again.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

British Dictionary definitions for prevailed


verb (intr)
  1. (often foll by over or against) to prove superior; gain masteryskill will prevail
  2. to be or appear as the most important feature; be prevalent
  3. to exist widely; be in force
  4. (often foll by on or upon) to succeed in persuading or inducing
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Derived Formsprevailer, noun

Word Origin

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 prevailed



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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper