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[prev-uh-luh nt] /ˈprɛv ə lənt/
widespread; of wide extent or occurrence; in general use or acceptance.
having the superiority or ascendancy.
Archaic. effectual or efficacious.
Origin of prevalent
1570-80; < Latin praevalent- (stem of praevalēns), present participle of praevalēre to prevail. See pre-, -valent
Related forms
prevalence, prevalentness, noun
prevalently, adverb
nonprevalent, adjective
nonprevalently, adverb
unprevalent, adjective
unprevalently, adverb
1. common, extensive. See current.
1. rare. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prevalent
  • Just because bedbugs are prevalent, though, doesn't mean you have to take them home with you.
  • Where diseases are more prevalent, individuals are less open to meeting strangers and to new experiences.
  • Years ago the prevalent attitude was that enforced apprenticeship was the only way a good chef could be trained.
  • And this is at a time when drug-resistant strains of bacteria are becoming ever more prevalent.
  • Keeps in line with the level of awareness that's usually prevalent around here.
  • Obesity is prevalent among younger people, too, and in fact is dramatically on the rise.
  • The most prevalent look is ultralong and lean, part of the geometry that is imprinting current fashion.
  • It doesn't matter whether you are older or younger — although certain attitudes seem more prevalent in each camp.
  • It needs some monitoring so that we at least have some source of data that shows us how prevalent various kinds of fraud are.
  • The problem is more prevalent among adults than kids, she says.
British Dictionary definitions for prevalent


widespread or current
superior in force or power; predominant
Derived Forms
prevalence, prevalentness, noun
prevalently, adverb
Word Origin
C16 (in the sense: powerful): from Latin praevalens very strong, from praevalēre: see prevail
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 prevalent

early 15c., "having great power or force," from Latin praevalentem (nominative praevalens) "of superior strength; mighty," present participle of praevalere "to be more able" (see prevail). Meaning "extensively existing, in general use" is from 1650s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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