What does prevail mean?

Definitions for prevail

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word prevail.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. predominate, dominate, rule, reign, prevailverb

    be larger in number, quantity, power, status or importance

    "Money reigns supreme here"; "Hispanics predominate in this neighborhood"

  2. prevail, hold, obtainverb

    be valid, applicable, or true

    "This theory still holds"

  3. prevail, persist, die hard, run, endureverb

    continue to exist

    "These stories die hard"; "The legend of Elvis endures"

  4. prevail, triumphverb

    prove superior

    "The champion prevailed, though it was a hard fight"

  5. prevailverb

    use persuasion successfully

    "He prevailed upon her to visit his parents"


  1. prevailverb

    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.

  2. prevailverb

    To be current, widespread or predominant; to have currency or prevalence.

    In his day and age, such practices prevailed all over Europe.

  3. prevailverb

    To succeed in persuading or inducing.

    I prevailed on him to wait.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. To PREVAILverb

    Etymology: prevaloir, Fr. prævalere, Lat.

    This custom makes the short-sighted bigots, and the warrier scepticks, as far as it prevails. John Locke.

    They that were your enemies, are his,
    And have prevail’d as much on him as you. William Shakespeare.

    Nor is it hard for thee to preserve me amidst the unjust hatred and jealousness of too many, which thou hast suffered to prevail upon me. Charles I .

    I told you then he should prevail, and speed
    On his bad errand. John Milton.

    The millenium prevailed long against the truth upon the strength of authority. Decay of Piety.

    While Malbro’s cannon thus prevails by land,
    Britain’s sea-chiefs by Anna’s high command,
    Resistless o’er the Thuscan billows ride. Richard Blackmore.

    Thus song could prevail
    O’er death and o’er hell,
    A conquest how hard and how glorious;
    Though fate had fast bound her
    With Styx nine times round her,
    Yet musick and love were victorious. Alexander Pope.

    This kingdom could never prevail against the united power of England. Jonathan Swift.

    With minds obdurate nothing prevaileth, as well they that preach, as they that read unto such, shall still have cause to complain with the prophets of old, who will give credit unto our teaching? Richard Hooker, b. v. s. 22.

    He was prevailed with to restrain the earl of Bristol upon his first arrival. Edward Hyde.

    The serpent with me
    Persuasively have so prevail’d, that I
    Have also tasted. John Milton.

    They are more in danger to go out of the way, who are marching under the conduct of a guide, that it is an hundred to one will mislead them, than he that has not yet taken a step, and is likelier to be prevailed on to enquire after the right way. John Locke.

    There are four sorts of arguments that men, in their reasonings with others, make use of to prevail on them. John Locke.

    The gods pray
    He would resume the conduct of the day,
    Nor let the world be lost in endless night;
    Prevail’d upon at last, again he took
    The harness’d steeds, that still with horror shook. Addis.

    Upon assurances of revolt, the queen was prevailed with to send her forces upon that expedition. Jonathan Swift.

    Prevail upon some judicious friend to be your constant hearer, and allow him the utmost freedom. Jonathan Swift.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Prevailverb

    to overcome; to gain the victory or superiority; to gain the advantage; to have the upper hand, or the mastery; to succeed; -- sometimes with over or against

  2. Prevailverb

    to be in force; to have effect, power, or influence; to be predominant; to have currency or prevalence; to obtain; as, the practice prevails this day

  3. Prevailverb

    to persuade or induce; -- with on, upon, or with; as, I prevailedon him to wait

  4. Etymology: [F. prvaloir, OF. prevaleir, L. praevalere; prae before + valere to be strong, able, or worth. See Valiant.]


  1. Prevail

    Kiley Hendricks, better known by stage name Prevail, is a 4-time Juno Award winning Canadian hip hop artist raised in Victoria, British Columbia and based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Prevail is part of platinum-selling Swollen Members, which consists principally of himself and Mad Child. They have been called "two of the most innovative people in hip-hop". Aside from his extensive catalog with Swollen Members, Prevail released a side project entitled Code Name Scorpion with Abstract Rude and Moka Only in 2001, his first solo EP Baseball Bat and Nails in 2009, and a second solo EP with Ol' City Rocker titled Spasefase in 2012.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Prevail

    prē-vāl′, v.i. to be very powerful: to gain the victory: to have the upper hand: to have greater influence or effect: to overcome: to be in force: to succeed.—v.t. (obs.) avail.—adj. Prevail′ing, having great power: controlling: bringing about results: very general or common.—adv. Prevail′ingly.—ns. Prevail′ment (Shak.), prevalence; Prev′alence, Prev′alency, the state of being prevalent or wide-spread: superior strength or influence: preponderance: efficacy.—adj. Prev′alent, prevailing: having great power: victorious: wide-spread: most common.—adv. Prev′alently. [Fr. prévaloir—L. prævalērepræ, before, valēre, to be powerful.]

Suggested Resources

  1. prevail

    Song lyrics by prevail -- Explore a large variety of song lyrics performed by prevail on the Lyrics.com website.

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British National Corpus

  1. Verbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'prevail' in Verbs Frequency: #998

How to pronounce prevail?

How to say prevail in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of prevail in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of prevail in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of prevail in a Sentence

  1. Keir Giles:

    If it's a question of who can pour in the greater resources and take the greater pain in order to prevail, Russia has a track record for inflicting substantial economic damage on itself and suffering on its own population, in order to prosecute wars.

  2. Susan Welber:

    We are very disappointed in the Supreme Court's decision, and the irreparable consequences it will have for immigrants and their families across the nation, but we continue to believe that our legal claims are very strong that we will ultimately prevail in stopping this rule permanently.

  3. Stephen Massocca:

    If 'Remain' wins, then probably the (U.S. stock) market will move higher, if 'Leave' wins, it will be a mirror image of that - there will be an immediate sell-off that could be rather severe, but once cooler heads prevail, the market could move back higher.

  4. Charles A. Beard:

    I am convinced that the world is not a mere bog in which men and women trample themselves in the mire and die. Something magnificent is taking place here amid the cruelties and tragedies, and the supreme challenge to intelligence is that of making the noblest and best in our curious heritage prevail.

  5. Josh Blackman:

    He advanced conservative judicial skepticism of the administrative state, handed a short-term victory to progressives, and still left open the possibility that the census question will prevail.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for prevail

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • تسودArabic
  • převládatCzech
  • vorherrschenGerman
  • prevalecerSpanish
  • غالب شدن پیروز شدن چیره شدنPersian
  • suostutella, taivutellaFinnish
  • prédominer, prévaloir, dominer, l'emporter, persuaderFrench
  • prevalereItalian
  • לִגבּוֹרHebrew
  • 勝つJapanese
  • prævalebuntLatin
  • overwinnen, overheersen, overtuigen, domineren, zegevierenDutch
  • dah honiłnéNavajo, Navaho
  • predominar, prevalecerPortuguese
  • преобладать, одержать победу, уговорить, убедить, господствовать, превалировать, доминировать, восторжествоватьRussian
  • förhärskaSwedish
  • மேம்படுTamil
  • เหนือกว่าThai
  • 占上风Chinese

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    an embarrassing mistake
    • A. descant
    • B. fluster
    • C. flub
    • D. monish

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