Why was clemency trending last week?


[pri-veyl] /prɪˈveɪl/
verb (used without object)
to be widespread or current; exist everywhere or generally:
Silence prevailed along the funeral route.
to appear or occur as the more important or frequent feature or element; predominate:
Green tints prevail in the upholstery.
to be or prove superior in strength, power, or influence (usually followed by over):
They prevailed over their enemies in the battle.
to succeed; become dominant; win out:
to wish that the right side might prevail.
to use persuasion or inducement successfully:
He prevailed upon us to accompany him.
Origin of prevail
1350-1400; Middle English prevayllen to grow very strong < Latin praevalēre to be more able, equivalent to prae- pre- + valēre to be strong; see prevalent
Related forms
prevailer, noun
2. preponderate. 3. overcome.
3. lose. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prevailed
  • Nearly all the delegates were present, and the utmost harmony prevailed.
  • So far, pragmatism and dialogue seem to have prevailed.
  • The severe rain-storm which prevailed in this section was the cause.
  • The pill solved the problem of unwanted pregnancy, but as usual, the law of unintended consequences prevailed.
  • Europeans went back in time to a system similar to the one that prevailed a century ago.
  • When one side prevailed and they asked me the doubters were surprised to hear how cheap it was.
  • Part of the reason that genteel good manners prevailed is that everyone knew each other already.
  • Speakers at the ceremony tried to recapture the spirit of unity that prevailed after the attacks.
  • If he recovers, it means that his immune systems kicked in and prevailed.
  • Disunity is all the more remarkable in light of the harmony that prevailed after the flawed presidential poll.
British Dictionary definitions for prevailed


verb (intransitive)
often foll by over or against. to prove superior; gain mastery: skill will prevail
to be or appear as the most important feature; be prevalent
to exist widely; be in force
often foll by on or upon. to succeed in persuading or inducing
Derived Forms
prevailer, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Latin praevalēre to be superior in strength, from prae beyond + valēre to be strong
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for prevailed



c.1400, "be successful; be efficacious," from Old French prevaleir (Modern French prévaloir) and directly from Latin praevalere "be stronger, have greater power," from prae "before" (see pre-) + valere "have power, be strong" (see valiant). Spelling in English perhaps influenced by avail. Related: Prevailed; prevailing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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