From Middle English prevailen, from Old French prevaler, from Latin praevaleō (“be very able or more able, be superior, prevail”), from prae (“before”) + valeō (“be able or powerful”). Displaced native Old English rīcsian.
prevail (third-person singular simple present prevails, present participle prevailing, simple past and past participle prevailed)
- (intransitive) 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.
- 1611, The Holy Bible, […] (King James Version), London: […] Robert Barker, […], →OCLC, Exodus 17:11:
- And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed; and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.
- 2022 February 27, Phil McNulty, “Chelsea 0-0 Liverpool”, in BBC Sport:
- Liverpool created a host of chances and had a Joel Matip goal ruled out for a foul and offside in an incident-packed game that went right down to the wire before Jurgen Klopp's side prevailed.
- (intransitive) To triumph; to be victorious.
- 2019 January 14, “Exploring the SCP Foundation: SCP-2935 - O, Death”, in The Exploring Series, archived from the original on 25 March 2023, 0:36 from the start:
- There are a number of SCPs and tales that look at potential apocalypses, but rarely with such totality as SCP-2935, a parallel dimension in which death prevailed.
- (intransitive) To be current, widespread, or predominant; to have currency or prevalence.
- In his day and age, such practices prevailed all over Europe.
- (intransitive) To succeed in persuading or inducing.
- I prevailed on him to wait.
- 1749, Henry Fielding, The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling:
- Jones began to be very importunate with the lady to unmask; and at length having prevailed, there appeared not Mrs Fitzpatrick, but the Lady Bellaston herself.
- (transitive, obsolete) To avail.
To be superior in strength, dominance, influence or frequency; to have or gain the advantage over others; to have the upper hand
To be current, widespread or predominant; to have currency or prevalence
To succeed in persuading or inducing
- “prevail”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- “prevail”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.