What does prevail mean?

Definitions for prevail

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage 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.


  1. prevail

    To prevail means to succeed or be victorious in a particular situation or conflict. It implies overcoming obstacles, opposition, or challenges in order to achieve a desired outcome or to establish one's dominance or authority.

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. New Jersey:

    Aside from an ongoing Ethics Committee probe, the legal cloud over Menendez appears to be lifting. But he still faces political headwinds in his bid this year for a third Senate term and in his purported attempt to retain the committee post. Menendez’s net approval rating among registered voters has fallen 20 points since the start of 2017 -- the biggest decline of any senator up for 2018 reelection, according to a recent Morning Consult poll based on a survey from October through December 2017. New Jersey voters will continue to be reminded of Menendez's dishonest schemes as the election approaches in November, Republican National Committee spokesman Bob Salera recently said. If Menendez indeed reclaims his top post on the foreign relations committee, he would push aside Maryland New Jersey Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin, who now occupies the ranking-member post. The liberal wing of New Jersey Democratic also has expressed concern about Menendez’s return, considering he’s regarded as more moderate than Ben Cardin. Menendez, the son of Cuban immigrants, did not support former President Barack Obama’s efforts to improve diplomatic relations with the Cuban government or the Iran nuclear deal, brokered by the Obama administration. Federal prosecutors decided two weeks ago not to retry Menendez on corruption charges, after their case ended last fall in a hung jury. Menendez, 64, was charged with trading his political influence for gifts and campaign contributions from Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen. He denied the allegations all along. The prosecutors ’ decision ended Menendez and Melgen’s 11-week trial and their roughly five-year investigation. From the very beginning, I never wavered in my innocence and my belief that justice would prevail, Menendez said after prosecutors dropped the case. I am grateful that the Department of Justice has taken the time to re-evaluate its case and come to the appropriate conclusion. However, The New Jersey Democratic senator also issued a warning last year to those who were eager to replace The New Jersey Democratic senator in the Senate. To those who were digging my political grave so they could jump into my seat, I know who you are and I wo n’t forget you.

  2. William Faulkner:

    I believe that man will not merely endure; he will prevail.

  3. Jamela Dunbar:

    It is the truth. All men are partners. In a partnership with each other. As one people. We cannot change the past, present or future of this fact. We are born equal. And we will all die equal. The truth will prevail. Selfishness will not win. We stand together as one. With a force of many.”

  4. Antony Blinken:

    Putin has made a terrible, terrible, terrible mistake in many ways. But it starts with the proposition that somehow Ukraine doesn’t exist as an independent country, what Ukrainians are showing every single day is, of course, exactly the opposite. And ultimately, their strength, their resolve, their determination, backed by the United States, in fact by the world, is going to prevail.

  5. Bob Menendez:

    I do think it's important for Ukraine to prevail in the national interest of United States, I just don't think a no-fly zone or direct confrontation is what's necessary to do that.

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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"prevail." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 13 Apr. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/prevail>.

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