[ pri-vey-ling ]
/ prɪˈveɪ lɪŋ /


predominant: prevailing winds.
generally current: the prevailing opinion.
having superior power or influence.

Nearby words

  1. pretzel,
  2. preussen,
  3. prev.,
  4. prevail,
  5. prevail on,
  6. prevailing westerlies,
  7. prevailing wind,
  8. prevailingly,
  9. prevalence,
  10. prevalent

Origin of prevailing

First recorded in 1580–90; prevail + -ing2

Related formspre·vail·ing·ly, adverbpre·vail·ing·ness, nounun·pre·vail·ing, adjective

Synonym study

2. See current.


[ pri-veyl ]
/ prɪˈveɪl /

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.

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

Examples from the Web for prevailing

British Dictionary definitions for prevailing


/ (prɪˈveɪlɪŋ) /


generally accepted; widespreadthe prevailing opinion
most frequent or conspicuous; predominantthe prevailing wind is from the north
Derived Formsprevailingly, adverb


/ (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 prevailing
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper