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  • (US) IPA(key): /pɹɪˈveɪ.lɪŋ/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪlɪŋ


prevailing (comparative more prevailing, superlative most prevailing)

  1. Predominant; of greatest force.
    The prevailing opinion was for additional planning time.
    • c. 1700, Congreve, William, The Way of the World, page 37; republished as John Bell, Bell's British Theatre, volume 33, 1797:
      He has a humour more prevailing than his curiosity, and will willingly dispense with the hearing of one scandalous story, to avoid giving an occasion to make another, by being seen to walk with his wife.
    • 1807, Defoe, Daniel, The Life and Most Surprising Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner, page 187:
      [] and as merciful counſels are moſt prevailing when earneſtly preſſed, ſo I got them to be of the ſame opinion as to clemency.
    • 1826, House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons Papers, volume 17, page 411:
      I have heard generally that alderman Archer has a more prevailing and powerful influence in the commons than any other alderman, and exercises that influence;
  2. Prevalent, common, widespread.
    • 1829, Annesley, James, 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, Brewster, David, “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.





  1. present participle of prevail