from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Widely or commonly occurring, existing, accepted, or practiced. See Synonyms at prevailing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Widespread or preferred.
  • adj. Superior or dominant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Gaining advantage or superiority; having superior force, influence, or efficacy; prevailing; predominant; successful; victorious.
  • adj. Most generally received or current; most widely adopted or practiced; also, generally or extensively existing; widespread; prevailing

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Of such a character as to prevail; superior in power or might; controlling; ruling.
  • Influential; possessed of moral weight or authority.
  • Effective; efficacious; productive of results, particularly of results desired.
  • Wide-spread; current; of wide extent, occurrence, practice, or acceptance: as, a prevalent belief; a prevalent custom.
  • Synonyms and Prevalent, Prevailing, Predominant, Ruling. Ruling in this connection refers to moral ascendancy: as, a ruling fashion set by a reigning belle. Prevalent and prevailing are sometimes the same, and in two senses, that of exceeding in strength, as the prevalent (or prevailing) opinion was against action, and that of existing widely, as scarlet fever is a prevalent (or prevailing) distemper. The habitual is more likely to be expressed by prevalent; the present or actual, sometimes the temporary, by prevailing: as, the prevailing fashion. The words are weaker and less exact than ruling; predominant is the strongest of all. Predominant implies activity, and actual or figurative effort after leadership on the part of that which is predominated over: as, a predominant faction; a predominant opinion is one that seems to put down all others.
  • Common, Prevalent, etc. See common.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. most frequent or common


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, very strong, from Latin praevalēns, praevalent-, present participle of praevalēre, to be stronger; see prevail.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin praevalentem.


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