[ prev-uh-luhnt ]
/ ˈprɛv ə lənt /


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



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“I do believe that the buck stops here, that I cannot rely upon public opinion polls to tell me what is right. I do believe that right makes might and that if I am wrong, 10 angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

Origin of prevalent

1570–80; <Latin praevalent- (stem of praevalēns), present participle of praevalēre to prevail. See pre-, -valent

synonym study for prevalent

1. See current.

OTHER WORDS FROM prevalent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020


What does prevalent mean?

Prevalent means widespread, in general use, or widely accepted.

The noun form of prevalent is prevalence.

Example: Social media use is so prevalent among teens that it’s often linked to the rise in mental health issues like anxiety.

Where does prevalent come from?

The first records of the word prevalent come from around the 1500s. It ultimately derives from the Latin praevalēre, meaning “to have superior strength” or “to prevail.” (The word prevail is also based on this word.)

Prevalent is often used in discussions of how widespread things are, such as in society or within a particular culture. If a belief is described as prevalent, it means it’s widely accepted in general or among a certain group of people. A disease may be described as prevalent in certain areas or in certain groups of people. Certain types of animals are prevalent in certain regions and rare in others. Memes are prevalent on social media. If something is becoming more prevalent, it’s becoming more widespread.

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What are some other forms of prevalent?

What are some synonyms for prevalent?

What are some words that share a root or word element with prevalent?

What are some words that often get used in discussing prevalent?

How is prevalent used in real life?

Fittingly, prevalent is a common word. It’s often used in discussions about widespread cultural phenomena.

Try using prevalent!

Which of the following words is LEAST likely to be used to describe something that’s prevalent?

A. widespread
B. common
C. rare
D. ubiquitous

Example sentences from the Web for prevalent

British Dictionary definitions for prevalent

/ (ˈprɛvələnt) /


widespread or current
superior in force or power; predominant

Derived forms of prevalent

prevalence 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