[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. prevailing,
  2. prevailing westerlies,
  3. prevailing wind,
  4. prevailingly,
  5. prevalence,
  6. prevalently,
  7. prevaricate,
  8. prevarication,
  9. prevaricator,
  10. prevenance

Origin of prevalent

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

Related forms

Synonym study

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

Examples from the Web for prevalent

British Dictionary definitions for prevalent


/ (ˈprɛvələnt) /


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