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From Middle English prevailen, from Old French prevaler, from Latin praevaleō (“be very able or more able, be superior, prevail”), from prae (“before”) + valeō (“be able or powerful”). Displaced native Old English rīcsian.
- (intransitive) To be superior in strength, dominance, influence or frequency; to have or gain the advantage over others; to have the upper hand; to outnumber others.
- Red colour prevails in the Canadian flag.
- (intransitive) To be current, widespread or predominant; to have currency or prevalence.
- In his day and age, such practices prevailed all over Europe.
- (intransitive) To succeed in persuading or inducing.
- I prevailed on him to wait.
- 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling:
- Jones began to be very importunate with the lady to unmask; and at length having prevailed, there appeared not Mrs Fitzpatrick, but the Lady Bellaston herself.
- (transitive, obsolete) To avail.
To be superior in strength, dominance, influence or frequency; to have or gain the advantage over others; to have the upper hand
To be current, widespread or predominant; to have currency or prevalence
To succeed in persuading or inducing
- prevail in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911
- prevail in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913