Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Widely or commonly occurring, existing, accepted, or practiced. synonym: prevailing.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Widespread or preferred.
  • adjective Superior or dominant.

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

  • adjective most frequent or common

Etymologies

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.

Examples

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