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- Predominant; of greatest force.
- The prevailing opinion was for additional planning time.
- 1700, [William] Congreve, The Way of the World, a Comedy. […], London: […] Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 228728146, Act II, scene ii, pages 19–20:
- He has a Humour more prevailing than his Curioſity, and will willingly diſpence with the hearing of one ſcandalous Story, to avoid giving an occaſion to make another, by being ſeen to walk with his Wife.
- 1777, [Daniel Defoe], The Life and Most Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, […], 7th edition, London: […] S. Crowder, […]; J. Sewell, […]; W. Johnston, […]; and B. Law, […], OCLC 1103155247, pages 210–211:
- But they could never gain my conſent to put him to death, for the reaſons above mentioned, ſince it was an Engliſhman (even yourſelf) was my deliverer: And, as merciful counſels are moſt prevailing, when earneſtly preſſed, ſo I got them to be of the ſame opinion, as to clemency.
- Prevalent, common, widespread.
- 1829, James Annesley, Sketches of the Most Prevalent Diseases of India, page 247:
- Fever and dysentery are the most prevailing diseases in this division, more particularly the latter, which is one of the most destructive amongst the troops in India, and particularly so in the European constitution.
- 1832, David Brewster, “Spain”, in The Edinburgh Encyclopaedia, volume 17, page 371:
- One of the most prevailing defects in this people is their invincible indolence, and hatred of labour, which has, at all times, paralysed the government of their best princes, and impeded the success of their most brilliant enterprises.
- 1940, Australian Commonwealth Bureau of Census and Statistics, Official Year Book of the Commonwealth of Australia No. 33 - 1940, page 49:
- In Sydney at 9 am, by far the most prevailing wind is a westerly, particularly during the colder two-thirds of the year.