widespread; of wide extent or occurrence; in general use or acceptance.
having the superiority or ascendancy.
Archaic. effectual or efficacious.

Origin of prevalent

1570–80; < Latin praevalent- (stem of praevalēns), present participle of praevalēre to prevail. See pre-, -valent
Related formsprev·a·lence, prev·a·lent·ness, nounprev·a·lent·ly, adverbnon·prev·a·lent, adjectivenon·prev·a·lent·ly, adverbun·prev·a·lent, adjectiveun·prev·a·lent·ly, adverb

Synonyms for prevalent

Synonym study

1. See current.

Antonyms for prevalent

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

Examples from the Web for prevalent

Contemporary Examples of prevalent

Historical Examples of prevalent

  • To assuage remorse, she sought to give evidence as to a prevalent sympathy.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • By what means has it become so prevalent among our modern metaphysicians?

  • The days of prevalent cigar-smoking and tobacco-chewing had not come.

    The Nation in a Nutshell

    George Makepeace Towle

  • The power of Nationalities and Acts of Parliament is also a prevalent superstition.


    Samuel Smiles

  • Will the good soul be that in which disorder is prevalent, or that in which there is harmony and order?



British Dictionary definitions for prevalent



widespread or current
superior in force or power; predominant
Derived Formsprevalence or prevalentness, nounprevalently, adverb

Word Origin for prevalent

C16 (in the sense: powerful): from Latin praevalens very strong, from praevalēre: see prevail
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 prevalent

early 15c., "having great power or force," from Latin praevalentem (nominative praevalens) "of superior strength; mighty," present participle of praevalere "to be more able" (see prevail). Meaning "extensively existing, in general use" is from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper